Campus Sustainability Plan

Vision

WPI will demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life for current and future generations. We will accomplish this goal by promoting a culture of sustainability that incorporates the beliefs and behaviors supported by our technical strengths and by our heritage of the application of both theory and practice, as embodied in our motto Lehr und Kunst, to the solution of important problems.  WPI will work to advance the three pillars of sustainability – environmental preservation, economic prosperity, and social justice – in keeping with our institutional goal to develop in all community members a deep appreciation of the interrelationships among basic knowledge, technological advances, and human need.

Background

The WPI Task Force on Sustainability was created to provide leadership and coordination for WPI's campus-wide efforts directed toward enhancing the long-term sustainability of WPI's activities and in supporting the University's educational mission with regard to sustainability. Through our educational, research, and operational activities WPI is now demonstrating major accomplishments in each of the three aspects of sustainability: environmental preservation, economic prosperity, and social justice. We strive to advance our activities and contributions in each area. There are other entities that advise energy and sustainability on and around WPI (SynergE or the Energy Task Force for example), but none envelop the full breadth of the WPI Campus Sustainability Plan.

Planning

To establish the most effective path for advancing our past successes and to develop innovative strategies for achieving sustainability, the Task Force and four working groups led a two-phased planning process over the past two years. The first phase started D term 2012. In the first phase, the status related to sustainability of the four major aspects of our facilities and programs was reviewed, and broad goals for each of these components was identified. The Phase One working groups were charged with:

  • Determining WPI’s status with regard to Sustainability in the working group’s area,
  • Benchmarking against other institutions as appropriate,
  • Generating new ideas for advancing sustainability at WPI,
  • Recommending specific goals for achieving key aspects of sustainability at WPI,
  • Identifying strengths/weakness/opportunities for enhancement of WPI’s activities with respect to sustainability.

In the second phase we prioritized and fully developed the goals identified in phase one. Detailed action plans for each component were produced. Responsibility lies with the focused working groups; the Sustainability Task Force provides overall guidance and integration.

The scope and development timeline are outlined below, along with recommendations on means to broadly involve the WPI community. A requirement for success was active involvement across the WPI community – faculty, staff, students, and alumni. WPI engaged GreenerU, a campus sustainability consulting group, to assist the working groups with benchmarking data, energy audit information, technical efficiency work, and any other help deemed necessary.

Scope

The plan operates under the four working groups which correspond to the four major areas identified by the WPI Task Force on Sustainability.

  1. Operation of WPI’s campus facilities,
  2. Academic programs, both in teaching and scholarship,
  3. Institutional policies that impact sustainability,
  4. Community engagement, both on and off campus.

Outcomes

The result of this effort was the creation of the WPI Sustainability Plan.  This plan includes:

  • A review of the current condition of each of the four components of the plan,
  • A detailed definition of the goals for each of these components,
  • A detailed description of the specific actions required to meet these goals,
  • An identification of responsibilities,
  • Associated timelines for meeting the goals,
  • A vision of sustainability at WPI when the goals in this document are achieved.

Please click here to view the Sustainability Plan in full.

 
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WPI Sustainability Plan