Action Research Books

Social Justice, Environment and Livability books from MIT Press

Sustainability on Campus

Sustainability on Campus:
Stories and Strategies for Change

Edited by Peggy Barlett and Geoffrey Chase

May 2004, MIT Press

These personal narratives of greening college campuses offer inspiration, motivation, and practical advice. Written by faculty, staff, administrators, and a student, from varying perspectives and reflecting divergent experiences, these stories also map the growing strength of a national movement toward environmental responsibility on campus.

Environmental awareness on college and university campuses began with the celebratory consciousness-raising of Earth Day, 1970. Since then environmental action on campus has been both global (in research and policy formation) and local (in efforts to make specific environmental improvements on campuses). The stories in this book show that achieving environmental sustainability is not a matter of applying the formulas of risk management or engineering technology but part of what the editors call “the messy reality of participatory engagement in cultural transformation.”

The authors of Sustainability on Campus report from a diverse group of institutions ranging from two-year community colleges to famous research universities. They tell of environmental stewardship on campus, curriculum changes, green building design, working with local communities, and system-wide initiatives. Their chronicles include the early mistakes and successes of the Green Task Force at Illinois Wesleyan, the history of an innovative interdisciplinary graduate curriculum at the University of California at Berkeley, the planning and construction of a green Environmental Studies building at Oberlin College, the joint efforts of local businesses and students at Allegheny College to promote eco-tourism in northwest Pennsylvania, a donor-initiated multi-university consortium in South Carolina, and the implementation of sustainability requirements for all students at Oakland Community College in Detroit.


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