Berea College’s commitment to sustainability is integrated into its mission and stems from one of its eight “Great Commitments,” which is “to encourage in all members of the community a way of life characterized by plain living, pride in labor well done, zest for learning, high personal standards, and concern for the welfare of others.” This ideal is expanded in one of the College’s Workplace Expectations for employees, which is to “encourage plain and sustainable living” by “promoting a sustainable way of life through policies, procedures and practices in the workplace.”
Various committees, both formal governance and voluntary groups, engage in some aspect of campus sustainability planning and assessment. The primary sustainability governance committee is the Campus Environmental Policy Committee (CEPC), which reports to the Executive Council. Informal groups include a Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) Advisory Committee, Ecovillage Operations Committee, Residential Life Green Team, and Local Food Initiative (LFI).
Former President Shinn signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in January 2007. In the fall of that year, an ad-hoc subcommittee of the Strategic Planning Council (SPC) was formed as follow-up to a previous sustainability planning effort in the late 1990’s that led directly to the creation of an academic sustainability program and other institution-led sustainability initiatives.
This new ad-hoc Subcommittee on Sustainability II (SOS-II) met over the 2007-08 academic year with the official charge to “create a strategic plan that will articulate an overall vision of a more sustainable Berea College, core principles undergirding that vision, reasonable goals for achieving the vision, suggested initiatives to achieve the goals, and recommendations about how to integrate the work and decision-making of current offices, programs, and positions devoted in part or totally to Berea’s sustainability.”
The SPC is still reviewing and discussing the SOS-II report and recommendations, has sought feedback from relevant campus colleagues, and has also begun discussions about the implications of the recently completed GHG inventory for the institution.