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K-State Today

April 11, 2014

Draft K-State 2025 Sustainability Strategic Action Plan now available

Submitted by April Mason

Dear Colleagues,

K-State has a core commitment to sustainability as recognized by the inclusion of sustainability as one of our seven common elements in the K-State 2025 visionary plan. In order to advance our universitywide sustainability efforts, a strategic planning committee has been hard at work since September developing a draft sustainability strategic plan. The charge to the committee was to develop a K-State 2025 strategic action plan across the breadth of the university mission, including research, curriculum, student life, operations, and engagement.

As we get ready to celebrate Earth Day later this month, President Schulz and I are happy to announce that this draft plan is now ready for public review. As a public land-grant university, K-State has had a role throughout its history to develop and share knowledge to assist society in meeting the grand sustainability challenges of the times. Today is no different. As noted in the draft plan, we have a responsibility to leverage our strengths to serve society in adapting to changing environmental conditions and meeting the resulting global challenges not only to our long-term food and energy security, but also economic and social justice for all.

Sustainability is a long-term challenge to the world well beyond 2025, but this draft plan helps frame where we can focus our efforts as a university during the next decade. Key strategic goals, activities, and outcomes have been defined around four areas.

1) Academics: Research, Undergraduate Experience, Graduate Scholarly Experience: K-State will be an international leader in the development of sustainability knowledge among our students, scientists, and scholars.

2) Campus and Public Engagement: K-State will infuse sustainability into its engagement activities and leverage those enterprises to create communities of support for sustainability that drive progress toward the integration of sustainability goals throughout the institution.

3) Operations: Create a robust dynamic between operations and the teaching/research/service mission of the university that impacts decision-making at all levels in incorporating deep triple bottom line thinking with robust engagement of campus occupants and grassroots networks.

4) Leadership: Foster administrative leadership to ensure all university programs and departments/units are active partners in accomplishing the university's sustainability goals.

The plan is necessarily broad in scope, with implications for all colleges, units, administration, facilities and infrastructure, and ancillary entities. In order for the final plan to reflect the university's abilities and aspirations for sustainability, it is critical that we hear your suggestions, comments, and ideas before refining a final plan later this spring. The review period will run from April 11 through May 10, 2014. During this time, we ask for your careful review of the plan and feedback.

In addition to the familiar online process used for all university K-State 2025 plans, you will have additional opportunities to provide feedback during presentations to key leadership groups and community listening/input sessions that will be held by the committee. These will be excellent opportunities for you to discuss issues with the committee members who developed the draft plan, pose questions, and provide comments in person. Look for promotion of these opportunities in campus media, including a community listening session from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 22 in the Leadership Studies Building, Room 247.

My sincere thanks to Bruce Snead and Melody LeHew, co-chairs, Ben Champion, director of sustainability, and all the committee members for their dedicated efforts in bringing this plan forward. Please take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the role sustainability will play in our future.

April Mason