Primary Strategies

Engage students through part-time sustainability employment

Some departments may be able to create sustainability-focused student employment opportunities. For example, Facilities Management and Planning often has leftover work study funding. Other departments where these opportunities may be most appropriate include Residence Life, Student Life, Communications and Community Relations, and Business Services.

Incorporate a sustainability video into New Student Enrollment (NSE)

Develop a creative video or interactive session about sustainability at UNK. Ideally, the video or session would become part of NSE, but a secondary option could be to incorporate the video, session, or equivalent into an aspect(s) of Student Affairs’ First Year Program.

Leverage Blue and Gold Welcome Week (BGWW) to instill a culture of sustainability

BGWW is perhaps the best time to set a sustainable tone for the university. Anecdotally, however, BGWW is currently non-green in many ways. First, the UNK community must work together to make BGWW more sustainable. Then, UNK should leverage BGWW as a tremendous opportunity to provide marketing, outreach, and education about sustainability at UNK.

Develop a residence hall guide for green living

Develop a guide for green living and incorporating sustainability into the residence hall experience. UNK could consider developing a similar resource for students living in apartments and homes off campus, too.

Develop and implement a student sustainability literacy assessment

Explore the possibility of developing and implementing an assessment and follow-up assessment(s) to measure students’ knowledge of sustainability topics; it may also address values, behaviors, and/or beliefs.

Display an online sustainability dashboard

To engage the UNK community and the public, display a dashboard widget on the sustainability webpage that highlights UNK’s sustainability goals and progress toward achieving them. Keeping the dashboard current with progress updates will be key to effective engagement. Verdis Group is offering use of its dashboard widget for three years following rollout of this plan.

Pilot a sustainability outreach campaign

Pilot one or several sustainability-related outreach campaigns directed at students and/or employees that yields measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability. The campaign can take the form of a competition (e.g., a residence hall conservation competition), a rating or certification program (e.g., a green office program), and/or a collective challenge (e.g., a campus-wide drive to achieve a specific sustainability target).

Encourage and utilize sustainability feedback

Ensure means and opportunities exist for students and employees to submit sustainability-related suggestions and ideas. Pass those suggestions and ideas along to appropriate stakeholders. Some departments/offices may wish to solicit sustainability feedback locally. For example, Residence Life and the Residence Hall Association may be able to implement this strategy using their webpage.

Emphasize sustainability during new employee training

Provide information, resources, and tools regarding sustainability during new employee orientation and training.

Pilot a sustainability ambassador program

Pilot a program in which an employee from each building or department/ office who is passionate about sustainability serves as his or her unit’s sustainability ambassador. These individuals could meet regularly to share their units’ sustainability progress and successes, discuss challenges, and roll out new initiatives. Coordinators of this program would need to synchronize its efforts with those of the UNK Sustainability Committee.

Pilot a sustainability cultural art event, installation, or performance

Student Life or Residence Life should pilot a sustainability cultural art event, installation, or performance that has students as the intended audience. Funding for this type of program may already exist, e.g., through the Residence Hall Association and/or Loper Nite.

Establish a sustainability student group

Though UNK has over 200 student groups already, none have an explicit and primary mission to advance campus sustainability. Additionally, none have the explicit and primary intent to include any student regardless of field of study, living quarters, etc. Thus, Student Life and other partners should orchestrate an effort to establish a new sustainability-focused student group that also collaborates and coordinates with existing groups’ sustainability efforts. The student group should report to and have representation on the UNK Sustainability Committee.

Improve sustainability web and social media presence

Currently, UNK lacks the human resources to give appropriate attention to managing its sustainability webpage and social media. Having a sustainability web and social media presence is important for communicating and engaging with the UNK community and the public. UNK should identify someone(s) to take ownership of this effort; even a student intern could be quite helpful.