JMU's Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World (ISNW) uses a working definition of sustainability that is adapted from the Federal Register (2009): Sustainability creates and maintains "the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.” The ISNW recognizes the natural world’s intrinsic value and that humans are part of the natural world. Accordingly, we are committed to contributing, as individuals and as an institution, to the flourshing of nature and humans.
The responsibility for sustainability is not housed in one university unit, but is shared across all divisions. JMU’s achievements can be attributed to the past and current efforts of staff, faculty and students in many areas, commonly in collaboration. Information on JMU’s programs and plans related to the social and economic dimensions of sustainability can be found on numerous JMU websites. A few examples are
- The Madison Collaborative: Ethical Reasoning In Action
- Office of Access and Inclusion
- Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services (IIHHS) Community Engagement
- Community Service-Learning
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. JMU’s STARS report for 2011-2013 is available on the web. AASHE “defines sustainability in a pluralistic and inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations. STARS attempts to translate this broad and inclusive view of sustainability to measurable objectives at the campus level.” Thus, STARS includes credits related to an institution’s environmental, social and economic performance, and JMU’s reports address these.
Environmental stewardship at JMU means conserving, stewarding and restoring natural systems as we contribute to social well-being and economic prosperity for current and future generations. Our approach considers interdependent natural, economic and social systems in an integrated way and aims to achieve sustainability. Visit the following websites to learn more about what JMU is doing and how you can act as an environmental steward:
- Facilities Management Sustainability coordinates waste prevention and recycling, energy savings, stormwater action and the campus greenhouse gas emissions inventory.
- The Transportation Portal presents information and tools for alternatives to driving alone in Harrisonburg and around the region.
- Dining Services offers many sustainable dining options and programs.
The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability supports, coordinates and promotes environmental stewardship efforts across divisions of the university and conducts reporting on environmental stewardship and sustainability. Visit the OESS to learn about environment-related and sustainability-related co-curricular, academic, and research opportunities; to request data, student presentation funding or professional development; and to find events.