1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
What is Sustainability?
In 2008-09, Macalester’s Sustainability Office facilitated a campus- wide strategic planning process that engaged diverse stakeholders from across the college community to develop concrete strategies and tactics the college could adopt to reduce its carbon footprint and advance its academic and civic mission.
As part of the planning process, the Macalester community expanded on the Brundtland Commission’s classic 1987 definition to create a Macalester-specific definition of sustainability:
Sustainability is the continuous effort to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs by working toward a healthy environment, social justice, and a strong economy. At Macalester, sustainability is infused throughout our core values of academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.
Clearly, sustainability is a value and a practice at Macalester College that is core to our mission. This definition of sustainability is broad and has implications for all aspects of campus life, operations, and academic and civic engagement programs. It is also closely tied to ecological vitality, social and cultural diversity, financial stability, and community - building.
For the past three decades, Macalester has been a leader in implementing sustainable practices. However, until the adoption of this plan, the college has never had a long-term, strategic plan that is focused on every aspect of the institution, and establishes specific, measurable sustainability objectives and goals.
The Sustainability Plan articulates the sustainability, leadership, environmental, social, educational, and financial objectives that Macalester College will achieve to fulfill its obligations under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The plan combines both the required institutional action plan for climate neutrality that ACUPCC requires and the outcomes of a year-long college-wide sustainability strategic planning process
The plan is organized into four sections, plus appendices: Leadership, Operations, Education, and Implementation and Progress. The Leadership section articulates Macalester College’s long-term vision for sustainability and includes an ambitious goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2025. The Operations and Education sections articulate goals and deadlines that pertain specifically to campus operations and mission. Finally, the Implementation and Progress section explains how Macalester College will track, finance, and encourage its sustainability progress.