Many institutions put off decisions around sustainability because it can seem complex and – to be frank – not as pressing as focusing on their core business or mission. An article in the Journal of Sustainability Education by Stephen Mulkey, former President of Unity College says, in part, “Although many universities define sustainability through operational activities, the primary purpose of higher education is not operational sustainability — it is teaching, learning, scholarship, and outreach.”
Viewed from a holistic standpoint – “teaching, learning, scholarship and outreach” should be integrated into students’ and faculty experiences, addressing the forms and function of both the inside (building) and outside (campus).
Studioverde reinforces this idea with our clients and workshop participants: a sustainable design and operating approach must be teamed with educational programming in order to reap benefits that are long lasting and meaningful. For instance, when a campus is designed for outdoor experiential learning and educational programs are fully integrated into this model, students live, see, and learn about the inside and the outside. They then become inspired to integrate this holistic, sustainable approach into their standard of living, treatment of the natural environment, and their careers.