UNK Sustainability Definition & Vision

Using input from dozens of UNK stakeholders, Verdis Group helped the UNK Sustainability Committee to develop and approve the following institutional sustainability definition and vision:

Sustainability Definition

Sustainability is a philosophy of living and institutional operation that jointly considers social, environmental, and financial responsibility while benefiting present and future generations.

Sustainability Vision

UNK envisions a university in which sustainability is aligned with its learning, community engagement, operations, and everything it does. Sustainability is central to the day-to-day culture of the university. UNK’s graduates are sustainability-literate, prepared to think critically about resource conservation and wise resource management. UNK is actively striving to achieve zero waste and carbon neutrality. The university is also a leader in conserving water, utilizing renewable and efficient energy technology, promoting healthy lifestyles for its students and employees.

Why Is Sustainability Important to/at UNK?

Verdis Group arrived at two similar but nuanced statements that describe the importance of sustainability to/at UNK. The UNK Sustainability Committee decided to include both descriptions in this plan. The first description immediately below is based on qualitative data analysis of Verdis Group’s March 2015 site visit, which included numerous discussions with UNK sustainability stakeholders. The latter description is based on qualitative data analysis of Verdis Group’s UNK Sustainability Engagement Survey (March 2015).

Sustainability is important to/at UNK because being a sustainable university demonstrates leadership on this emerging topic. As a result of having a sustainability reputation, prospective students will be motivated to attend UNK. Since being sustainable incorporates financial responsibility and wise resource management, a sustainable UNK results in financial savings and obliges taxpayers. A sustainable UNK also prepares students to be sustainability literate, lessens UNK’s environmental impact, and creates engagement opportunities.

Sustainability is important to/at UNK because it conserves resources and protects the environment. Sustainable decision-making causes the campus and the local community to be a better place to work and live, saves money for the university, and is generally the right thing to do. Sustainability establishes UNK as a leader in the community and a model for other local organizations. Additionally, sustainability helps reduce emissions, thus protecting public health and lessening the impact of climate change / global warming.