The following is a revised version of Strategic Plan Initiative 4 created by a working group from the Manoa Sustainability Council during September, 2012.
Sustainability is a core value that cross ‐cuts each of the four strategic goals outlined in Achieving Our Destiny. The University of Hawaii at Mānoa faces energy and environmental management challenges common to other campuses and communities, as well as issues wholly unique to our island conditions, including land use, water, food, waste, and transportation among others. These challenges require development of a comprehensive campus sustainability program which includes: curriculum development at the undergraduate and graduate levels; student engagement with place ‐based learning; campus stewardship; university ‐ community ‐industry partnerships; and solution‐driven applied research that will ultimately produce changes in institutional practices.
Many departments and research units conduct vital sustainability related research, instruction and service, key to our success and recent growth as a research extensive university. There are several sustainability projects within and across units that have had significant impact on energy usage by gaining visibility and campus ‐wide support. At the same time, both the lack of administrative oversight to coordinate efforts and institutionalize these practices and the lack of comprehensive and coordinated curriculum and degree programs that reflect the multidisciplinary nature of this emerging field, place Mānoa at a strategic disadvantage: students who desire degrees in sustainability studies look elsewhere, opportunities for collaborative research and campus ‐based projects are lost because faculty do not have ready access to information about colleagues doing complimentary work in other disciplines, and department silos and degree requirement structures of some departments create potential for duplication of effort across the campus at a time when efficient use of faculty and classroom resources is of vital importance.
The sustainability focus for the coming year will proceed on two fronts. First, we will identify and develop the infrastructure and resources necessary to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary degrees in sustainability studies at the bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. levels. This effort will include a comprehensive needs assessment to identify the range of area specializations within each degree that can and should be supported, development of student learning objectives for these degrees, a full cost analysis, development of appropriate university ‐community ‐ industry partnerships, and administrative/structural factors to be considered.
Second, in keeping with the role of Mānoa as a UH System leader in innovation and a responsible steward of the ‘aina, this initiative will capitalize on opportunities for engaged place ‐based learning and serve as the catalyst for a campus sustainability effort that sets achievable goals for energy reduction and supports, disseminates, and increases the visibility of existing and future sustainability efforts. In short, the Mānoa campus will serve as a laboratory to address questions such as: How do we reduce the carbon footprint of the Mānoa campus? How do we optimize exemplary storm water management practices? How do we provide access to locally-grown and organic food choices? How do we reduce the waste stream into and out of campus? How do we become a model for alternative transportation options? How can we best encourage and sustain biodiversity? Why is the implementation of sustainability practices critical to our economic, social, and environmental survival? Graduates of our programs will be better equipped in a competitive marketplace to gain employment and contribute significantly as positive stewards, thereby positioning the University of Hawaii as a leader in developing solutions to the looming issues of the 21st Century.