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Elon begins updates to Sustainability Master Plan

The Office of Sustainability and the Environmental Advisory Council are hosting events on April 2 and April 23 for students, faculty and staff to contribute ideas and suggestions for the future of environmental, social and economic initiatives on campus.

With guidance from the university's Environmental Advisory Council, staff members in Elon's Office of Sustainability have started work on an updated sustainability master plan they hope will promote social and economic health in the community just as much as environmental stewardship.

The updated plan aims to further Elon’s sustainability programs and efforts, encourage education around sustainability-related issues, and better reflect the definition of sustainability used by Elon and other universities around the country.

Two programs taking place in April will allow people to share feedback and ideas for the updated plan.

"Envisioning a Future We Want" will be offered April 2 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the McBride Gathering Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion. The program is co-sponsored by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life as a part of the discussion series "Beyond Faith and Reason."

A second program is scheduled for April 23 from 4-5 p.m. in Moseley 215.

Through a series of activities, participants will examine the shared values of diversity, justice, resiliency and sustainability. Organizers want participants to envision how all of these can thrive and support one another on campus and suggest programs and activities to facilitate this. The updated plan will approach sustainability not solely as an "environmental" issue but one that also considers social and economic health.

Accomplishments resulting from the initial 2006-2007 Sustainability Master Plan include the following:

  • Establishment of an Office of Sustainability with two dedicated staff members
  • Development of a Climate Action Plan to address the university's goal of carbon neutrality by 2037
  • Creation of the Elon University Forest
  • Expansion of energy efficiency and conservation efforts resulting in a 30 percent BTU/SF reduction in energy consumption in the last 10 years
  • Growth of solid waste reduction efforts to include food and yard waste composting and recycling for batteries, printer cartridges and electronic waste

Guided by the master plan, Office of Sustainability staff help educate the community and inform students about global, sustainability-related issues. Sustainability provides a framework for students to think about the common good as encompassing economic and environmental health as well as social health.

Staff members say that participating in a session will provide an opportunity to contribute ideas for strengthening Elon University’s sustainability program.

Eric Townsend,
3/27/2014 8:30 AM