JMU Announces Formation of the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World

From: Public Affairs

Sept. 19, 2008

HARRISONBURG—Based on the recommendations of a presidential commission organized by James Madison University President Linwood H. Rose in 2007, JMU is announcing the formation of the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World to guide the university's engagement with the expanding environmental concerns of its community and the world.

The President's Commission on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability was co-chaired by Maria Papadakis, professor of integrated science and technology, and Towana Moore, associate vice president for business services. Comprised of university students, faculty and staff, the commission explored the needs and opportunities facing JMU and the world, culminating in a spring 2007 report recommending a number of actions.

Foremost among the actions was the formation of the ISNW, to be led by Executive Director Christie-Joy Brodrick Hartman. She previously served as associate professor in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology and co-director of the university's Alternative Fuels Program.

"There is growing evidence that we need to change our individual and institutional practices in order to assure the future health of our planet and ourselves," Hartman said. "JMU's resources place us in a strong position to partner with others as leaders in environmental stewardship at multiple levels: on campus, regionally, nationally and internationally. The formation of the ISNW will help organize JMU's pursuit of sustainability and will enhance our collaborative individual and institutional stewardship efforts."

The role of the institute will be to coordinate and facilitate JMU's pursuit of sustainability, environmental stewardship and a broader sense of citizenship. This includes fostering, informing and documenting sustainability-related education, outreach and scholarship.

The ISNW is in the process of developing a strategic plan to guide its actions in partnering with university centers, departments and personnel. Five committees will coordinate the following areas: awareness, education and research, operations, campus accessibility, and policies and practices.

Previous to the formation of the ISNW, JMU undertook many stewardship efforts. Among those were last year's student-organized "No Drive Day," the ongoing construction of the university's new LEED-certified dining facility, the "greening" of the Office of International Programs, formation of an eco-community residential experience, installation of a green roof, faculty climate research and renewable energy demonstrations.

The institute will be engaging partnerships with all areas of the university. For more information about how you and your department can become involved with the university's sustainability efforts, contact the ISNW at (540) 568-3202.

Public Affairs Contact: Bill Wyatt, (540) 568-4908.