chapter  3
21 Pages

Beyond Disciplines: Integrating Academia, Operations, and Community for Campuswide Education for Sustainability

Academic institutions can play a major role in helping society pursue sustain-

ability. They can do this obviously through education, but also by following

sustainable best practices in their operations and by working with campuswide,

local, state and/or regional communities in outreach activities. In education,

institutions of higher learning must move beyond the narrowly defined,

discipline-specific models that have typified the modern university over the last

150 years. Sustainable development itself encompasses an integrative view of how

economies and societies bring about equitable growth and development that

recognizes their interdependencies within the biophysical systems of the earth.

Hence, a model to guide Education for Sustainability (EFS)1 must draw on this

integrative nature, and suggest an approach to restructuring the ways in which the

educational arena is constituted. In operations, institutions of higher learning must

enhance their own facilities’ performances in demonstrably sustainable ways.

Operations comprise physical facilities management, classroom management,

materials flow, energy use, and transportation, to name a few. Such efforts in

themselves are, by definition, educational, but more importantly they yield long-

term economic and environmental benefits. In community outreach, institutions

of higher learning must acknowledge their physiographic settings and seek to

connect with their many public constituencies. In fact, community outreach

activities can bring together faculty, students, staff, and community members

to address issues of economic, environmental, and social equity within the

immediate region and in the larger world. In short, Education for Sustainability

must include all members of the institution’s communities: students, faculties,

operations personnel, and members of the general public. This chapter discusses

the integrative ways that these functions have been pursued at Ball State

University, a nationally recognized leader in Education for Sustainability.