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ONE UW-WIDE SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK BY 2022

For Fiscal Year 2022, we are working on four actions toward this target:

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Action: Finalize and publish the university-wide definition of sustainability

Through an interactive process of gathering ideas and feedback from students, faculty and staff at all three UW campuses, we’ve devised a definition of sustainability. You can see the definition, its goals and a description of the development process on the Definition of Sustainability page.

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Updates

as of March 2022

The definition has been approved by the Environmental Sustainability Committee and our president, Ana Mari, and is due to be brought to the Board of Deans and Chancellors for final approval.

Action: Develop standardized reporting of academic content

This effort has involved identifying courses that have sustainability content and exploring options for making this information accessible.

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Updates

As of March, 2022

In Winter Quarter 2022, two students from the Program on the Environment analyzed the entire list of courses offered at UW's Seattle campus to determine which have sustainability content or are sustainability-focused (as defined by the UW definition of sustainability). Our next step is to have each academic department review and approve of this work so we can begin making it accessible. In parallel, we’ve explored options for reporting this information. The most visible strategy would be to include it in myPlan, but there are considerable barriers to making changes to this system which needs to balance the need for students to search for courses along numerous parameters while keeping the interface manageable. Our initial plan is to display the course on the UW Sustainability website while we continue to look for ways to make the information more accessible.

Action: Identify minimum learning outcomes

We are working to identify core sustainability skills and competencies for all UW students as an initial step to develop a university-wide set of learning outcomes that can incorporated in existing and new courses, regardless the discipline or concentration, in order to address a full range of ecological, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability.

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Updates

As of March, 2022:

In December 2021, a small, multi-campus group of faculty who teach sustainability-focused courses convened to discuss identifying minimal learning outcomes for sustainability at the UW. Below is a summary of the insights gathered from this conversation. They will inform the our SAP for 2022-2023:

Our learning objectives should focus on what students will be able to do out in the world. Learning should be experiential and participative to be impactful. We need to address the different domains of learning: knowledge, experience/exposure, commitment, critical reflection. We should think about healing as important aspect embedded in this exploration; recognize the importance of acknowledging traumas to help us move to a different relationship with how we manage time and the idea of success.

How to incentivize this work:

  1. Align with UW-wide initiatives to get engagement across the University.
  2. Create a fellowship (to allow people time to do this work and to create a support network). The UBC fellows program is a model. It has shown impact in advancing sustainability as a core value for the university.
  3. Another model is COE's workshop for faculty to incorporate environmental justice into their curriculum
  4. A model for aligning course objectives is Bothell's work on courses that use COIL (Collaborative, Online, International Learning)
  5. There are many parallel efforts across campus - we should be leveraging and connecting those rather than creating new ones. We need to provide transparency; to see that we're in sync and having common ideas.

Action: Determine feasibility of a student sustainability hub

The goal is to develop a tricampus model for ongoing student sustainability engagement and research, through Campus as a Living Lab and determining need and use cases of a student-facing Sustainability Hub on the Seattle campus.

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Updates

as of March, 2022

In March 2021, a group of students from the Sustainability Studio course made a case for having a physical on-campus Sustainability Hub. In early October 2021, the Campus Sustainability Fund coordinator and a UW Sustainability staff member attended an ASUW Senate meeting to gauge their support and get feedback on potential locations, priorities etc. The HUB was considered an ideal location, but there is no space available. Facilities space planning staff have been helping to explore other possibilities.

In the meantime, the work of the Student Sustainability Hub has gotten underway: the UW Sustainability/CSF DEI Coordinator is working on engaging underrepresented groups across campus, these relationships being an important foundation for future planning around the "HUB" concept. We’re also working with student groups including Green Greeks, Ecoreps & ICA, to enhance awareness of one another's efforts and provide feedback on the work of the Sustainability Action Plan.

Target progress

Target metrics

Metrics to track progress toward this target are being developed.

Guiding principles of this target