Ithaca College has long had programs in various parts of campus life that support the tenets of environmental sustainability, garnering national attention for successfully integrating resource management programs such as office paper recycling and state-of-the-art composting of dining hall food wastes.
Building on those experiences, the College is launching a significant new initiative that expands on the concept of sustainability -- with particular emphasis in the School of Business -- in order to produce leaders who care equally about profits, society, and the environment.
The initiative includes plans to build a new $14 million home for the business school, hosting a national summit on sustainable development, leading a regional sustainability effort in upstate New York, assessing how the College can incorporate sustainability into the curriculum of all five schools, and incorporating additional sustainability practices into day-to-day operations.
"It is our goal to become one of the nation's leading proponents of sustainability, to practice what we preach, and to produce leaders in many fields who will find solutions for meeting the needs of their generation without shortchanging future generations," says President Peggy R. Williams. "Enlightened corporations realize that if they hope to remain competitive they must use natural resources wisely, be responsive to the concerns of the public, and serve as good stewards of the environment."
The campus-wide initiative will officially kick off April 6-7, when the College will host a national summit on sustainable development. The summit will include 200 delegates from major corporations, government agencies, environmental and sustainability interest groups, universities, and regional development organizations.
The practice of sustainability, or sustainable development, has been adopted by many national governments and a number of leading corporations, but is just now beginning to be taught at the nation's leading business schools.
The College plans to construct a new building for the School of Business that will be designed to exceed the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. As a sustainably designed facility, it will have lower operating and maintenance costs; incorporate a sense of community and promote interactive learning; and advance environmental stewardship by producing much of its own energy, while minimizing the use of water and other natural resources. The building will be designed for use as a learning tool for students and visitors, with many of its unique features made visible and understandable to all.
A three-year grant from the National Science Foundation has already facilitated the development and revision of courses to address sustainability principles in biology, anthropology, history, writing, and other disciplines. In addition, the School of Business curriculum incorporates sustainability in such areas as business ethics, law, management systems, and global investment.
The College and the Park Foundation have provided critical seed funding to support a feasibility study for a regional sustainability initiative in which the College would partner with the City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, Cornell University, and other public and private sector organizations in the region. The initiative will build on the success of similar efforts in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, among other communities.
For more information on Ithaca College's sustainability initiative, visit Sustainability -- Exploring Positive Growth.
Contributed by David Maley