Aerial view of campus in the fall

Background and Goals for the Sustainability Year

As the global population increases and the effects of climate change worsen, taking concrete actions in sustainability has become critical to the survival and wellbeing of future generation. Back in 1987, the UN Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987:8). As sustainability measures are implemented at the local level, this premise needs to be modified to more effectively guide our efforts. Women leaders are crucial for promoting sustainability, and as one of the premier women colleges in the US, we need to develop our own set of guiding principles for and with the entire campus community. Sustainability is a multifaceted complex concept that touches on various issues ranging from climate change and renewable resources to social justice and policy. The purpose of the Sustainability Year is to engage the campus community in thoughtful discussions about what sustainability means for us today, and to promote positive behavioral changes and intellectual discourse that will endure beyond the themed year.

The specific major goals of Sustainability Year are:

  • to increase awareness of sustainability at Wellesley
  • to nurture a college-wide discussion of sustainability and what it means for Wellesley
  • to engage in thoughtful discourse about sustainability through student competitions and classroom discussions
  • to run a behavioral change campaign to promote sustainable behaviors that reduce waste, increase recycling, and conserve energy in residential halls, dining services and beyond
  • to certify at least 100 more offices through the sustainability certificate program