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An Evaluation of Effective Structures for Campus Sustainability Programs At Institutions of Higher Education

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Author: Edmonds, Lauren C.
Advisor: Swaddle, John P.
Committee Members: Feldman, David; Chambers, Randolph M.
Issued Date: 5/14/2011
Subjects: Campus sustainability
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/13740
Description: The need for sustainability in both the education and operations of colleges and universities has inspired many to launch sustainability programs on their campuses. As institutions of higher education invest in creating and expanding their campus sustainability programs, there is a need to identify the most effective institutional structure for achieving campus sustainability goals. This comparative study analyzed the sustainability programs at eight colleges and universities. I selected these institutions to be somewhat similar to my own, The College of William and Mary. Personal interviews and in-depth research were conducted to gather detailed information on the structure of each campus' program. This information was used to score the institutions on a series of twenty variables. These variables were then correlated to a measure of the program's success, adapted from their score on the Sustainable Endowments Institute Green Report Card. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, the factors most strongly associated with program success were: the amount of funding it received; the reliability of that funding; the program's size; the physical space allocated to the program; and the source of its initiation. The greatest success correlated to large amounts of reliable funding, a large program size, dedicated space for the program, and a bottom-up initiation. Based on the results of this research, when colleges and universities decide to take up sustainability goals, they need to make serious investments in their sustainability programs while also fostering strong student support. Both institutional investment and grass-roots student support appear crucial for enacting effective sustainability initiatives.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy

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