GVSU commits to sustainability

Date: October 28, 2013

Grand Valley State University has slowly introduced a university-wide commitment to the “triple bottom line.”

GVSU regularly is recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the top sustainable colleges in the United States — Aquinas regularly makes this list, as well. The school also has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Endowment Institute and U.S. Green Building Council for its campus-wide sustainability efforts.

Although there’s no dedicated major, sustainability courses and practices have trickled down throughout the university’s eight colleges.

“It’s all about the integration of sustainable best practices across campus,” said Norman Christopher, executive director of GVSU’s Sustainable Community Development Initiative. “It’s in our education as well as decision-making on projects. It’s continuing to develop best practices, and what drives us is the student interest.”

Christopher said the distinction is rooted in the fact that students look for sustainable factors no matter what field they go into. Although the university is fully behind the sustainable efforts, each college is on its own to develop ways to implement sustainability into the curriculums.

Because of the university’s approach, each college is offering more classes that focus on a sustainability aspect and can be applied to the degree.

“It’s been the individual colleges and how they addressed it with the faculty,” Christopher said. “Rather than having a specific degree, one can obtain an emphasis or certificate.

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