The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future asserts that “universities have a major role in the education, research, policy formation, and information exchange necessary” to address sustainability (Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, 1994). Addressing sustainability will require new solutions, new knowledge, and new, holistic ways of thinking. As a university we are well positioned to provide these things. And through teaching we can inspire future leadership in sustainability.
In many ways, sustainability is a social change movement. Given the lack of coordinated, ongoing international and international action to move sustainability forward, it comes down to cities and communities and institutions acting as agents of change. As a university, the U of L has the responsibility to be an agent of change and to lead the way in the collective journey we need to take towards sustainability.
Sustainability is also an investment. The long-term benefits of addressing sustainability include:
- Reducing the negative impacts of waste.
- Reducing infrastructure operating costs.
- Increasing our eligibility for sustainability-related grants.
- Boosting our ranking and recognition for recruitment purposes.
- Strategically positioning the U of L as an institution that takes an ethical position, that of helping achieve a sustainable future, and that takes action to make it happen. This can help differentiate us from competitors.
- Strengthening community relations, by working with interested parties on initiatives and helping improve the community’s quality of life through sustainability projects.
- Garnering of attention from alumni donors and private donors who also believe in the importance of sustainability.