Week 3: Vision Statement & Interviews


Week 3: Sustainability Plan for OWU

Tuesday January 27

  • select vision statement¬†focus group
  • select interview focus group
  • select content/actions focus group
  • read Farley and Roseland books, chapters 1-3 in each (by next tuesday)

Goal Thursday: one page summary including vision statement and content/action categories (and descriptions) to distribute to interviewees. Schedule of available interview times and questions.

Vision Statement Focus Group: Mira, Bridget, Jayne

Interview Focus Group: Jeff, Lily, Ali, Cindy, Sarah

  • schedule for interviewing priority faculty, staff, students
  • questions for interviewees
  • estimated time required for interviews
  • online form (Google Drive) for entering responses

Content/Action Focus Group: Thomas, Christian, Ryan, Mary, Jackson

  • evaluate content/action categories (add categories, split up categories) and develop a few more details about what is included in each category
  • brief description of content/action¬†categories

Results: Thursday January 29

Draft Vision Statement

As a liberal arts institution, Ohio Wesleyan University strives to lead the local and global community in progressive sustainability initiatives through educational, technical, and social means. Human welfare relies on a healthy planet, but harmful practices and the depletion of natural resources have damaged that equilibrium. We are committed to collaborating with the faculty, staff, students and surrounding communities in order to apply environmental theory into practice through a series of goals. Sustainability means a continuous effort to implement environmentally conscious habits in our daily lives. These efforts are necessary and need to be adaptable and persistent throughout OWU’s presence in the community. It is important to understand the cost and funding required to implement sustainability initiatives. However, these are investments in our future that will ensure the conservation of energy, monetary cost, and environmental health.  This is the start to the formal introduction of a new culture at OWU, which strives to be to be visible, educational, and effective for a positive impact on the environment.

Draft Content Groups & Actions

  1. Climate & Energy (Mary, Christian, Jayne)
  2. Grounds & Waste (Mary, Christian, Jayne)
  3. Water (Ali, Bridget, Ryan)
  4. Dining (Ali, Bridget, Ryan)
  5. Transportation (Jeff, Mira, Lili, Jackson)
  6. Purchasing (Jeff, Mira, Lili, Jackson)
  7. Teaching, Education, Research (Sarah, Thomas, Cindy)
  8. Co-curricular & Community (Sarah, Thomas, Cindy)

Draft Actions (in each content group)


Work to do:

  • Add as much content as possible, questions, ideas, whatever

Draft Interview Questions

  1. What is your vision of sustainability at OWU?
  2. How have you been involved with sustainability at OWU?
  3. What would be the benefits and challenges of OWU having a sustainability plan?
  4. What do you think the challenges will be?
  5. How can we incorporate sustainability into OWU culture?
  6. How can we make sustainability more visible? Communicate with faculty, staff, and students?
  7. What areas of OWU do you think could become more sustainable and how?
  8. Who else should we talk to?

Work to do:

  • Schedule interviews by Friday January 29 (Doodle Poll)
  • Include draft of Vision Statement, Content and Action Groups
  • Google Poll for entering interview questions: in shared folder (Interview Questions – Documentation)



Geog 499 First Meeting


Geography 499: Sustainability Practicum

  • A Sustainability Plan (hardcopy)
  • Review Course Goals (About…)
  • Review Syllabus (Syllabus…)

How do we create a sustainability plan for campus?

The situation:

  • I’m not a sustainability expert, nor is anyone on campus or in this class, but I know we can figure out how to create a real sustainability plan together using our¬†collective skills and knowledge.
  • I need your help to make this happen: this is a¬†collaboration. You need to play an active role.¬†You guys all are smart, have a range of knowledge but mostly skills in problem solving, research, and expression (written, spoken).
    • Collaboration!
  • Sustainability in the real world is put into practice under circumstances like those here at OWU. Not ideal but workable. Experiences in this course will help you¬†–¬†whether in graduate school, in a job or in life in general.¬†It’s about figuring out stuff and making things happen.
  • Work in this class is also tied to changes and developments in the Environmental Studies program:
    • “The proposed OWU Center for the Environment consists of an enhanced Environmental Studies program focused on active student learning about sustainability and environmental issues. A full time staff member and office facilities with a budget for speakers, visiting scholars, and student research will provide an intellectual and physical center for the program, greatly enhance the experience of current majors and attract new students. The Environmental Studies major will continue to consist of selected courses from across traditional disciplines, but the core of the major will focus on engagement in regional sustainability and environmental research projects. Environmental Studies will be the first major at OWU centered on theory-into-practice.”
    • Seeking funds from Alumni donors, grants (Government and private foundations)
    • Capstone course! (Geog, ES, whatever)
    • Slow but progress: a budget for ES 2015-16!

A few more confessions:

  • I thought there would be 3 or 4 students in this class!
  • I am extremely prepared and very much (planned) unprepared for this course!
  • Let’s look at the course as a cool project you are getting credit for

What Next?

  • We will¬†make this class together
  • Work in groups or individuals? The latter for now…

1) Review the sustainability plan for Denison University. It’s more or less¬†what we need to do for OWU.

  • Find one more¬†sustainability plan (internet search) and briefly review both
  • How to make this happen?

2) Look at the schedule for the semester and think about how we can most effectively use our time. Suggest a general plan for the course that leads to our desired outcomes: A draft OWU sustainability plan delivered to the Sustainability Task Force by Earth Day 2015 (Wednesday April 22). In other words, how would you put together this class and project if you were in charge?

Review of what we need to accomplish:

  • define a plan for how to proceed given the time we have this semester
  • figure out how to put together a sustainability plan
  • do the research necessary for the sustainability plan
  • develop a grant proposal seeking external funds to cover costs related to sustainability on campus
  • define a plan for publicizing our work and sustainability on campus, culminating in events around Earth Day 2015 (April 22)

Spring Semester 2015

  • Week 1: January 13/15 (no meeting Thursday January 15: Luce Grant Call)
  • Week 2: January 20/22: present / discuss ideas (below) on 20th, maybe 22th.
  • Week 3: January 27/29
  • Week 4: February 3/5
  • Week 5: February 10/12
  • Week 6: February 17/19
  • Week 7: February 24/26
  • Week 8: March 3/5
  • Week 9: March 10/12: Spring Break
  • Week 10: March 17/19
  • Week 11: March 24/26
  • Week 12: March 31/April 2
  • Week 13: April 7/9
  • Week 14: April 14/16
  • Week 15: April 21/23: Earth Day Week!
  • Week 16: April 28/30

3) Be prepared to introduce yourself and (briefly) present a plan one week from today in class: Follow this format, print and bring a copy with you:

1 page: Comments on Denison Sustainability Plan with a focus on how we can construct a similar plan for OWU. Indicate major concerns or challenges (where you have no idea how to proceed), where you believe you can contribute, or you have ideas as to how to proceed.

1 page: Review the other resources (besides the Denison plan) at the end of the course syllabus and include a few comments on these sources so I know you looked at them.

1 page: Annotated schedule for the semester with your ideas for structuring our work week by week (in general) to reach the desired outcomes.

1/2 page: What you believe to be your personal strengths & weaknesses in the context of this project and this practicum course.


  • Please email me a copy of your report before we meet (on Tuesday January 20)
  • Please feel free to talk to me¬†about any of this
  • I will add you to this blog as an author (no need to post anything yet)
  • Don’t freak out