During the past decade, the concept of sustainability has emerged as an increasingly important element to institutions of higher education. In response to this pressing issue, Longwood University's former President, Dr. Patricia Cormier, established the Committee for a Sustainable Environment (Sustainability Committee) in February 2006.
In a world of increasing demands and diminishing resources, it is imperative that we, the academic community, do our part to ensure that future generations have opportunities equal to those afforded us. Regardless of the positive strides already taken, it is time for Longwood University to develop its own guidelines for environmental sustainability. To this end, I am establishing a standing committee of the University, henceforth to be known as the Longwood University Committee for a Sustainable Environment. This committee will:
- Promote environmental awareness among faculty, staff and students
Make realistic and achievable program and policy recommendations to the President of the university designed to:
- Promote sound environmental stewardship practices;
- Promote throughout the university community the conservation of resources , energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, pollution prevention, increased reliance on renewable resources, and other measures consistent with sustainable living;
- Further long-range environmental planning by the university, as well as;
- Assist the university in carrying out its civic responsibilities in the area of the environment.
"As Citizen Leaders, it is imperative that we embrace our environment and walk boldly into a clean and green future."
--Dr. Patricia Cormier, PhD
Longwood's Sustainability Committee focuses on making our campus more environmentally sustainable, and adheres to the following values:
- The preservation of green space
- A minimization of waste and litter
- A campus environment respectful of local ecosystems and the watershed
- The quality of our air and water
- The conservation of resources
- The university's responsibility to educate people about environmental sustainability issues
- The university's responsibility to improve the quality of people's lives through heightened awareness and changed behavior
In 2007, Longwood intensified its commitment to creating a more sustainable campus by including sustainability goals in the 2020 Campus Master Plan. The campus master plan addresses the university's physical development to best meet the academic, residential and social needs of the campus community through 2020.
Sustainability goals included in the master plan focus on water, material flows, transportation, and energy. As the master plan project staff worked to integrate sustainability into the master plan, they realized there were several individuals and university groups other than the Sustainability Committee who were simultaneously working on sustainability-related projects. The obvious concept emerged of creating a single entity that could not only merge and enhance the individual efforts, but could also establish a comprehensive, uniform sustainability program.
The Vice President for Facilities Management and Real Property approached Longwood's President with the concept of establishing a formal sustainability program and hiring a coordinator to develop, implement, and direct the program. The program was established and in September 2008, Kelly Martin was hired as Longwood's first sustainability coordinator.
The initial success of Longwood's Sustainability Program is due largely to the generous support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. In response to the need for a comprehensive sustainability program, including a full-time sustainability coordinator, Longwood applied for and received a $138,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund in June 2008. The three-year grant will support the consolidation of the university's existing sustainability efforts into an expanded comprehensive program and partially fund a full-time sustainability coordinator.
The expanded sustainability program will support the implementation of the master plan's sustainability goals and will recommend policies for the construction and operation of future campus facilities.