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Priorities for Excellence: The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14

Goal 7: Control Costs and Generate Additional Efficiencies
Strategy 7.8: Establish and Foster Sustainable Environments

The increasing pressures on global resources and environmental conditions make it imperative that Penn State embrace sustainability in its many dimensions in ways that would position the University as a leader nationally and internationally. The University can demonstrate its leadership in terms of the incorporation of sustainability in its educational programs, in its research and knowledge creation about global issues surrounding sustainability, and in operating its multitude of facilities across the Commonwealth. In keeping with the theme of prioritization and excellence, strategies to embrace sustainability efforts are offered with the expectation that short-term investments will be necessary but that they can lead to long-term savings.

The current economic and environmental crises affecting a range of everyday existence for most of the Penn State community and its constituencies provide a platform from which responses can consider the impacts on sustainability. Energy and the environment are two critically important dimensions of sustainability, but far more dimensions can be considered.

Penn State has been a leader in many aspects of sustainability education and operations, from its support for the Center for Sustainability to its purchases of green power. The University benefits greatly from cooperation among many academic and administrative units in making these advances possible. There are numerous academic-administrative partnerships with students and researchers in areas such as emission reduction and the efficient use and conservation of resources. Also, Finance and Business has earned multiple awards in the area of environmental stewardship, with programs such as the use of biofuels in its service fleet, adoption of a new LEED policy for all new buildings, reductions in the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging bicycle use, an increased recycling effort that already has resulted in 50 percent recycling of all Penn State waste, and much more. Yet, more can be done to position Penn State for a greater leadership role. This will require a higher level of coordination and collaboration than has characterized the many creative, but as yet relatively small, initiatives that have been launched.

  • President’s Council—Primary
  • Senior Vice President for Finance and Business—Secondary
  • Academic Leadership Council
  • University Faculty Senate