Answering a call made by Chancellor Ronnie Green, a team of 66 Huskers is working to expand sustainability initiatives at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Members of the Chancellor’s Environment, Sustainability and Resilience Commission were selected in spring 2019 and met for the first time in August. Divided into seven separate actions teams, they are developing sustainability plans in the areas of teaching and learning; health and wellness; research and innovation; land resources and ecosystems; campus operations and facilities; and community engagement.
The commission was formed in response to Green’s State of the University address in January. In the talk, Green outlined his main priorities — including sustainability at the top of the list.
“Let’s imagine a future with a culture that builds a more sustainable and resilient community for all citizens. Each of us, serving as stewards of this university and its resource for future generations of Huskers,” Green said. “To protect that future, an enhanced sustainability program is necessary today.”
David Gosselin, director of the environmental studies program, and Prabhakar “Prabs” Shrestha, sustainability coordinator for the university, are leading the commission.
According to Gosselin, the commission incorporates a larger number of campus community members than ever before, making the group more inclusive and effective.
“We’ve designed the commission in a way that relies heavily on campus input. The action teams consist of faculty, staff and students, so we’re representing all the major stakeholder groups within the university,” Gosselin said. “Our members serve as conduits out to the rest of the UNL population. We want to make sure that we give a voice to as many people as possible.”
Huskers can expect to see updates take place on a variety of levels, from smaller student projects to larger-scale campus operations.
Gosselin is excited for the commission’s future and sees it transforming the university over the next five years.
“I look at this commission as the first of many steps toward making the University of Nebraska–Lincoln a leader in sustainability,” Gosselin said. “These changes are possible, and with the support of the campus community, I know we’ll go far.”