Elon has been working on sustainability efforts long before it was common for higher education institutions to have dedicated sustainability professionals on staff. As one example, energy efficiency and conservation initiatives began in the 1970s. These efforts were formalized with the creation of the Environmental Advisory Council in 2004 and initial Sustainability Master Plan in 2007. These and other key points in Elon’s sustainability journey are outlined below.
2004 President Lambert appoints the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC).
2007 Environmental Advisory Council develops the initial Sustainability Master Plan.
2008 Elon hires its first, full-time Sustainability Coordinator, Elaine Durr.
2009 Elon Commitment strategic plan features sustainability under theme eight.
2010 Climate Action Plan is developed.
2011 Sustainability Coordinator position evolves into Director of Sustainability. Elon becomes a STARS participant and earns a Silver rating.
2013 Office of Sustainability expands to two full-time employees.
2015 Elon completes updated Sustainability Master Plan. 2020 Sustainability and Elon’s carbon neutrality by 2037 goal is incorporated into the Boldly Elon strategic plan.
Office of Sustainability Mission
The Office of Sustainability’s mission is to advance sustainability at Elon by helping to streamline and improve university operations and developing and fostering educational programs.
The Office works toward this mission by collaborating across the campus and overseeing and coordinating sustainability programs and initiatives. Key areas of focus include: reducing greenhouse gas emissions toward carbon neutrality by 2037; continuing identification and implementation of strategies that support sustainable operations; and enhancing and expanding programs to educate students, faculty and staff about sustainability.
Elon has received external recognition for its sustainability program, including inclusion in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 375 Green Colleges: 2019 Edition” and previous editions. Elon was also named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee and received APPA’s 2016 Sustainability Award.