Sustainable development was defined by the Brundtland Report in 1987 as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” A commonly accepted definition of sustainability – “the ability to meet the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” – was developed from this. Many sustainability practitioners use the triple bottom line framework (people, planet, profit) to plan and measure their sustainability initiatives. As indicated by these broad definitions, sustainability is a large practice area requiring input from a wide variety of stakeholders. This is particularly true on a college campus, like Georgia College (GC), where many projects, including recycling, composting, and gardening, must be coordinated.
In order to engage more stakeholders at GC, the Office of Sustainable has designed a new program called Bobcats Work Green. This is a partnership program which all GC departments and offices can enter into voluntarily. The goals of the program are to foster a culture of sustainability on the GC campus; teach students, faculty, and staff about sustainability best practices; and create stakeholders who will continually spread sound sustainability practices throughout campus. By joining this program, Bobcats Work Green partners will be empowered to implement useful sustainability tips into their daily routine and assist the broader sustainability initiatives on campus. All interested GC groups can become a partner by completing the following steps:
- Contact the Office of Sustainability (firstname.lastname@example.org) to indicate your interest in becoming a partner.
- Designate a Green Bobcat Liaison, a member of the office to be the point person for all sustainability efforts.
- Schedule an initial walk through with Office of Sustainability representatives to showcase your office workflow and needs.
- Attend a presentation by the Office of Sustainability designed to educate the office members about sustainability (both in general and on campus) as well as sound sustainability practices to be implemented into their daily routines.
- Sign the GC sustainability pledge.
- Implement the sustainability action items contained within the Bobcats Work Green guidance document.
- Advertise and publicize your participation in the program.
Georgia College has proven to be a sustainability leader among its peers. The Green Initiative and Sustainability Council were established in 2009, showing a commitment to environmental stewardship. Since that time, GC has engaged and/or implemented multiple other sustainability-related stakeholders and projects, including the Office of Sustainability, the West Campus Garden, a composting operation, LED light conversions, LEED certification for two buildings, and installation of low-flow fixtures, among many others. For these efforts to succeed and grow, sustainability must be embedded into the culture of our campus, with ever more stakeholders becoming engaged and participating; and the Bobcats Work Green program is one more tool to help these efforts succeed.