A new Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) is being developed by the Sustainability Office and Sustainability Group for Environmental Stewardship (SAGES). This new plan will replace the University’s 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan.
The decision to develop a new plan was a result of changing priorities over the past five years.
“The current plan was meant to be a 5 year plan,” Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst wrote in an email to the Argus. “Developing strategies in 2015 for implementation in 2020 turns out to work not as well as we’d hoped (priorities, resources, and interests change over time).”
The structure of the new plan will be different from its previous iteration, according to Kleindienst.
“We’re looking to make this new SAP a living document, so the actual ‘plan’ document will be very short with high-level goals and objectives, but not specific strategies,” Kleindienst wrote.
The new Sustainability Action Plan will also expand and clarify aims set in the original plan.
“This new plan will set clear goals and objectives in key areas needed to move Wesleyan in the direction of carbon neutrality, integrating sustainability into courses, and facilitating a campus culture rooted in sustainability,” Kleindienst wrote in an all-campus email on Feb. 14.
Kleindienst had many suggestions on how to achieve carbon neutrality, such as converting from steam pipes to hot water pipes as well as reducing air travel.
“Campuswide conversion from steam to hot water infrastructure, then 100% renewable energy to generate heating, cooling, and electricity; purchasing offsets for air travel (and air travel here refers to employee and study abroad air travel, not students getting to and from campus), and figuring out ways to reduce air travel,” Kleindienst wrote. “Addressing these two pieces will eliminate/neutralize 95% of Wesleyan’s emissions, and we’ll work to figure out ways to address the remaining 5%.”
Kleindienst also touched on goals related to curriculum development and sustainability.
“[We hope to] find ways to incentivize and encourage faculty to integrate sustainability and environmental justice into courses, especially existing courses so that more students are introduced to these concepts even if they don’t start off interested,” she wrote.
Kliendienst admits that creating a sustainability-driven campus culture will be the most challenging objective to achieve.
“This is the hardest piece to address, because it involves all of our attitudes, beliefs, values, norms, and actions,” Kleindienst wrote. “There will definitely need to be different approaches for employees (ex: expanding Green Office Certification) and for students (ex: Sustainability Office and Resource Center programming).”
The Sustainability Office is currently asking students to fill out a survey to inform their development of the plan. The results and implications will be discussed after spring break.
“We will host a campus-wide workshop on Friday, March 27th and will host group listening sessions for anyone interested in giving more in-depth feedback throughout the month of April,” Kleindienst wrote in the all-campus email. “Working groups will then refine ideas from the survey, workshops, and listening sessions to finalize the SAP‘s goals, objectives, and embark on strategies for implementing the plan.”
Hannah Docter-Loeb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.