What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

To make sure that the environmental, social, and economic impact of our activities will create a high quality of life for our current generation and those of the future, we can look at them through a framework of sustainability factors.

These are the major factors of sustainable development:

  • Increasing environmental stewardship, restoration, and renewal.
  • Improving overall social well-being and quality of life.
  • Achieving economic vitality and overall fiscal sustainability.
  • Building upon the cultural capacity and our collective diversity, heritage, and intrinsic values.

By considering these factors when making decisions, we can become better global citizens. Sustainability is integral to Grand Valley State University’s strategic mission, vision, and values. It is everyone’s responsibility to work toward a sustainable future.

No matter how complex global problems may seem, it is we ourselves who have given use to them. They cannot be beyond our power to resolve.


Grand Valley State University educates students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. The university contributes to the enrichment of society through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service.


Grand Valley State University will become one of the nation’s premier Carnegie classification “Master’s Large” institutions of higher education grounded in the tradition of liberal education. It will be recognized and acknowledged as a community of diverse, committed scholars engaged in collaborative, lifelong learning to achieve acknowledged academic excellence and positive community impacts. By focusing on the promotion of high-quality undergraduate and graduate degree programs, the institution will be the university of choice for students and faculty alike and it will enjoy broad support for its innovative partnerships and initiatives that promote the physical health and the intellectual, social, environmental, economic, and cultural advancement of West Michigan, and ultimately, the advancement of the state, nation, and world.


Grand Valley values the guiding principles of sustainability in helping to meet the current needs of our faculty members, staff members, and students without compromising the needs and resources of future generations. We are committed to working with our community partners to create a sustainable future for our university, our community, our region, our state, our nation, and the world. We model applied sustainability best practices in our campus operations and administration, education for sustainable development, student involvement, and community engagement by promoting social responsibility, practicing fiscal responsibility, and encouraging environmental stewardship. We provide our students with excellence in education for sustainable development by imbedding theory, systems-oriented thinking, and service learning into our curricular and extracurricular programs.


Page last modified August 19, 2015