2025 Visionary Plan

K-State 2025 Sustainability Strategic Action Plan Feedback Report

Between April 11 and May 10, 2014, the K-State community was invited to provide feedback on the K-State 2025 Draft Sustainability Strategic Action Plan. This report compiles the online comments and suggestions received during the formal comment period.


Do you agree with the proposed goals in the K-State 2025 Sustainability Strategic Action Plan?

Total Responses: 20

Yes: 16

No: 4

Recommended changes

I think the education goals should be more specific and more specific to Kansas State. Including sustainable agriculture education and specific environmental studies majors.

I would like KSU be a tobacco free campus

The university continues to strain it's limited resources by adding new initiatives then demanding more money from the government (i.e. read: taxpayers). The whole idea that students will need to have taken a gen ed course in sustainability is absurd in my opinion. Really to what end? Is this more of university indoctrination in social and political correctness? I say yes.

Streamline to about half of what has been presented. Many of these goals are not realistic in terms of funding nor practicality.

Adding more programs seems problematic with current programs over capacity and underfunded

It seems to me that it requires a LOT of additional expenditures without an appropriate impact on our overarching goal of being a top 50 university. Its not that these are not necessarily good goals, but we can end up derailing our key efforts by diluting them with non-essentials.

I see no needed changes to the current K-State Sustainability strategic plan. The four overarching components is a great plan to emphasize sustainability at K-State. What made the biggest impact for me personally, was taking the Sustainability course here because I was pretty uneducated about the topic. Once I realized the importance of sustainability, it really interested me in the idea of a more environmentally efficient world. Once all students are educated about sustainability with it being incorporated into the K-State 8 program, I think there will be the same results I had.

I think it's vital for K-State to take a leadership position on sustainability.It is important to show KSU leadership in academics and in the community. It is also vital for the long-term success of K-State. As an alumni, I want KSU to continue to thrive and lead for hundreds of years. I think that sustainability provides the framework for integration of planning and decision-making to consider the profitability, the students, alumni, and community, and the ecological impact of the university.

The following are comments on the draft from the K-State Recycling Committee: The Kansas State Recycling Committee recognizes the importance of sustainability, especially at an institution of higher education, which should be a leader and role model in this area. The Committee supports sustainability related efforts 100% and deems all sustainability goals and efforts mentioned in the above referenced draft document to be important as they all are pieces of the bigger picture and will have to be addressed to attain a truly sustainable environment. Nothing will get achieved, however, without a firm commitment to sustainability and actions reflecting that commitment. Recycling specific comments: • Partnerships need to be established across campus to enhance and promote recycling and waste minimization. Specifically, Housing and Dining Services, Athletics, and Purchasing need to be more involved and be part of the big picture. • The recycling rate mentioned in the draft report for the 2013-2015 timeframe is too low. We currently are at 28.5% and more than a 1.5% increase by the end of 2015 should be possible with support for the program. • Education of students, faculty and staff regarding the importance of recycling and waste minimization, as well as overall sustainability, is needed. This can be accomplished with additional marketing of any efforts K-State is currently undertaking and will undertake in the future. Marketing includes “face-to-face” meetings as well as media involvement. Without buy-in from everyone on campus, it will be very hard to accomplish the goals set forth in the draft 2025 Sustainability Strategic Action Plan. • Currently, it appears administrative support for recycling and waste minimization on campus is lacking. If sustainability is to be achieved at K-State, this needs to change. • We have had much improvement in our recycling program over the last couple of years, thanks to much work by a few individuals. Their heart and dedication has made much of what has improved happen. However, they need help. Additional staffing to assist with the education, marketing, and physical needs of the program is a must. General thoughts and discussion: • What is the possibility of a “green fee” to assist in the improvement of our sustainable efforts on campus? • Suggest including some material specific standards in purchasing. For example, limiting the purchasing and use of Styrofoam products in our retail operation or elsewhere. • While sustainability was a topic of focus in the 2025 plan, we must hold departments to it and make them understand the importance of this area. • Continue to have a committee focused on sustainability. Possibly have representatives from more focused committees be a part of it. For example, have a representative from the recycling committee as well as the others areas of interest. The chair needs to be someone with the ability to communicate and stimulate change due to their position.

There is a great need for education to advance sustainability. An undergraduate major and graduate certificates and/or degrees that allow students to have a major emphasis on sustainability should be established.

The Draft K-State Sustainability Strategic Plan is a commendable start to improving the Sustainability status of the campus and teaching/outreach programs. However, it is very generally stated. There are many areas where more specific needs must be addressed. I will include them in my general comments below. Goal VI: I like the concept of developing a Center for Advancement of Sustainability, but feel it should go beyond development of Knowledge. The University should also lead by demonstrating, teaching and communicating with the wider public. The term "knowledge" is too restrictive and should be eliminated from the Center's name.

These are essentially the same comments I made as a faculty member, however, I have corrected a few typos with this second community member submission. We must make sure programs and departments are able to tailor “sustainability requirements” to help them successfully address already very full curricular obligations and to enable them to be more able to secure extramural funding to help the region, state, nation, and world address important issues related to creating sustainable communities, organizations, and systems. The proposed activities and outcomes are very ambitious. This is as it should be. However, incentives, rewards, and recognitions need to be keystones in helping units and the University achieve these stretch goals, objectives, and targets.


Is there anything missing that should be included in the K-State 2025 Sustainability Strategic Action Plan?

Total Responses: 20

Yes: 16

No: 4

If so, what is missing?

There is no goal addressing facilities. Buildings have a large environmental impact and part of the goal should address future LEED buildings and retrofitting campus buildings to reduce resource consumption.

Please build a a tobacco free campus

Transportation; 3. RRRR.: Can we be more specific about students bringing cars to K-State? For instance freshman or those who live in dorms. I think we can begin to make significant strides towards reduction by 2020 and not push it as far back as 2025... Transportation, #4: Can we consider reduced fee or free distance parking at the stadium complex, similar to when they built the parking garage? I don't know what guidelines may be preventing this, but it seems like a feasible and reasonable solution. Can we be explicit about this idea in the plan?

Linking Extension with Sustainability beyond landscape. There is an entire Unit of Extension in Family Studies and Human Services who could be integral in promoting and facilitating sustainability emphases in all family programming.

I really think you have all of the United Nations expectations covered.

This process should be integrated as a mission and goal in programs as opposed to adding additional demands on current system

I don't see a clear funding mechanism to allow for an office of sustainability and staff. Also, I think there are many management/policy areas that must be addressed so that it is feasible for a slightly higher first cost to be recouped by those that pay it. For example, if a building is built to a more efficient standard, does the college receive the savings in energy cost?

There is a need for a unit of the university to provide leadership in research and education in sustainability science.

I believe that several specific elements need to be more clearly stated. I've included examples them in my general comments below. Other specifics that need to be included in a serious Sustainability Program at a University would be to be sure the following areas are supported: * the Biodiesel Initiative has gotten off the ground, but will need continued support. * greenroofs could be expanded across campus. * focus on reducing our overall campus carbon footprint; we need to identify a metric so it can be a goal. * New infrastructure needs to have a strong sustainable component. Collecting donations for new buildings is not near as difficult as getting funds for maintenance. Design all new buildings for LEED certification; use foundation funds for any incremental costs associated with these criteria. Design all new buildings as "low-maintenance". * Incorporate solar and wind units on campus as a means of demonstrating new technologies, teaching students how to incorporate renewable energy into our operations, and enhancing public awareness. * Same goes for new water use reduction technologies. * A fundamental driver for climate change and requirement for long-term sustainability is population growth. Long-term future is bleak if it is not reversed. All trends are for exponential growth. Yet, it is hardly discussed...a political hot potato! We need an active program with focus on human population trends, its impact on the environment, social drivers of growth, and how to slow and reverse these trends.

Inclusion of the role for K-State Research and Extension in this strategic action plan. They are an important aspect of the university's engagement, and have many sustainability initiatives, but they are not specifically mentioned. I suggest that you seek out their leadership team for how to incorporate their work into this plan to strengthen it.

We need multiple university-wide conversations about this plan—with concrete examples of how similar plans have enabled other universities to flourish in regards to academics, operations, research and scholarship, service/engagement/outreach, and leadership. It is vital to bring the university community into the game as we prepare to adopt and then seek to achieve the purposes of this strategic plan. The University community needs to be supportive of the plan and this can be aided by more upfront dialogue and exchange. Finding another excellent Sustainability Director is vital.


General comments or suggestions for change

More specific goals

a tobacco free campus

In the Assumptions section (p.2), both bottom up and top down approaches are very important if we want to make any kind of move towards increased sustainability. Administration will clearly have to step in and play a bigger role to promote sustainability and continue to motivate faculty, staff, and student efforts. Incorporating sustainability as part of the current curriculum is wonderful! Further expanding our sustainability education over the next ten years and beyond will show that K-State cares about the environment and is determined to increase stewardship at many levels (undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, research, facilities, etc.). It is our ambition that sustainability education will go with our graduates as they make decisions beyond K-State and influence society. Many of the sustainability courses should have a service or hands-on component. It is easier to carry out sustainability practices and make it a part of our lifestyle when we take part in the action and directly observe the effects.

Get rid of the gen ed requirement. If the university faculty and workers wish to engage in "sustainability" efforts so be it. Lead by example and stop forcing agendas on paying students.

Where is the funding going to come from to sustain such a behemoth of a plan?

This an excellent plan to recognize K-State as an international leader in Sustainability.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) Secondary Major is uniquely positioned to assist with Goals 1 and 2 of the draft action plan, but is already underfunded in current, and more limited, role. NRES can contribute to sustainability and 2025 goals by engaging undergraduates in RSCAD activities and promoting that work with the campus and public. Kansas State University must serve as a model for sustainability for its students. Simply discussing sustainability concepts in class is not sufficient and will not foster future change.

In regard to parking at Snyder Family Stadium and shuttling people back and forth the the core campus, will the hourly workers be compensated for their extra time? If a shuttle bus is used, I imagine there will be scheduled pick up times and maximum capacity per bus. If I arrive at the stadium 7:45 am for a shift that starts at 8am and then wait on a shuttle that possibly doesn't return me to the parking lot until 5:15pm (shift ends at 5pm), will I be compensated for the extra time which could amount to up to an additional two-and-a-half hours per week? If I arrive on time to make it to my campus building by 8am but the bus is beyond capacity and the next one isn't for another 10 minutes, will I be penalized or have to take vacation time to make up this time that was missed beyond my control? Walking to campus or taking the Manhattan transportation system is out of the question as I live outside of Manhattan. If compensation isn't given, will there be a general understanding of all supervisors on campus that will allow people to be a few minutes late without punishment? Of course I'm thinking of honest people who don't just consistently show up late for their shifts.

In order for K-State to fully integrate sustainability and change the culture so that it is a way of doing business, there will need to be staff support. While sustainability is collaborative and should be integrated into all departments, it needs a champion. Sustainability is such an important aspect of planning and operations. It might be tempting to pigeon-hole it into facilities but it is also vital that it be integrated into academics. A Sustainability Director, complete with staff and budget can help coordinate, encourage, and market the efforts. Constant education, communication and encouragement is needed to keep the project moving forward. The long-term benefits for K-State, Manhattan, the state of Kansas, and most importantly, all the students that pass through the University are too important to miss!

The commitment and funding to advance sustainability needs to be greater.

Goal I: 1.L - Incentives should be in form of funds allocated thru the Office of Sustainability. These funds could be allocated to support Grad Students or purchase new equipment so that faculty could begin research in areas of Sustainability that have no current focus at K-State. 1.M - We need a faculty on campus who is expert in Life Cycle Analysis. I have helped organize proposals for sustainable energy to various agencies. They always require an LCA component. We always go outside of K-State to identify an expert to be on our team. If we want Sustainability Research to be a priority on our campus, we need LCA capability. Goal 2 - Campus and Public Engagement 2.F - Biodiesel Initiative should be supported, as an example, into facilities infrastructure illustrating student involvement and offering faculty use for a practical processing example. It also enhances overall student awareness and student involvement. 1.L - Athletics can play a much larger role by promoting recycling and other sustainable practices to enhance student and public awareness. 2.O - Use foundation accounts to fund LEED certification to assure that all new buildings are LEED certified. Goal 3. Operations Energy/Water - Restructure financial accounting responsibility back to departments for electricity and water usage. None of the building users feels a responsibility to control energy or water usage, so it is not as effectively used. I've seen some very wasteful examples. Return some of our utilities budget to the departments so they have the responsibility of managing their resources. 3.Z - Any campus-wide transportation system must include a bus system. We need to restrict use of cars on campus, replaced by a bus system (preferably electric). Goal 4. Leadership Ben Champion has done a lot with his limited resources in the Office of Sustainability. Should the office continue to report to Provost or to the President? I believe it is stronger to be linked to the President. We need to build on his accomplishments by hiring someone with his energy and dedication to Sustainability. This job requires a single leader who has a grasp of the broad perspective of the topic and is capable of working with many disciplines to accomplish the overall goals. He/she will need strong connections with all colleges and departments (EcoReps) to move programs forward and identify new hires to broaden our capabilities where we need them (LCA). It is imperative that this office be given funds to allocate where needed to create incentive for faculty to address Sustainability topics. The funding can take the form of scholarships for grad students or for new equipment to help faculty move their focus in new directions. To be effective this leader needs a full time assistant and several interns from the different colleges. A diversified board of directors for the Office of Sustainability will help provide direction and support for the Director. It should include members from all colleges, students outside stakeholders, and some potential funding sources. I'm available to serve as an outside board member, as appropriate. Ronald Madl Director Emeritus Center for Sustainable Energy

Minor change = spell out what NRES is the first time it is used in the document.

Please provide more time for comments on this plan—until the end of May would be great. Please initiate a series of conversations over the next year—inviting speakers and facilitators to aid in the process. The Overarching Goal and Sustainability Preface/Assumptions are well-stated: bold and appropriate given the magnitude of the challenges that we the people—along with the ecological and technical systems that support us—face. Thanks for preparing an ambitious plan!

It is essential that the administration seriously adopt a pro-sustainability viewpoint, and actions to promote sustainability/sustainable development in all areas, whether considered as environment, and society, or knowledge (academics/research/teaching & learning), operations, leadership, and engagement. The topic has been an 'add-on' in terms of 2025 planning, and any schedule of activities began 'behind.' many universities, from undergrad-only to high status doctoral institutions, are far ahead of us.