Sustainability Institute releases new guidebook for strategic planning

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Sustainability Institute (SI) announces the release of a new Sustainability Planning Guidebook for Teams. This guidebook, the result of a several-month process involving faculty from multiple colleges and staff from several units, aims to help Penn State units engage with sustainability in a strategic manner.

The provost has called for every unit at Penn State to describe the progress made and future plans that are positioned with the University’s efforts to integrate sustainability (as identified in the Sustainability Strategic Plan) across all functions, with particular attention devoted to aligning operations with academics.

“Our intent is that this guidebook, and related SI services, helps every Penn State unit find its unique, strategic contribution to our collective vision of a community dedicated to a sustainable future.”
      -- Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute

“Our intent is that this guidebook, and related SI services, helps every Penn State unit find its unique, strategic contribution to our collective vision of a community dedicated to a sustainable future," said Denice Wardrop, director of Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.

The guidebook will help units to identify what their distinctive contribution is to sustainability at Penn State; provide a six-step process and tools to help save time when planning; and includes three pilot summaries from Smeal College of Business, Penn State Public Media, and Finance and Business.

"As Penn State Schuylkill works on including sustainability into our five-year strategic plan, the guidebook provides a wonderful resource. It provides incredibly clear and useful tools that will guide us toward integrating sustainability into our plan and ultimately into all aspects of daily life at our campus." 
 -- Stephen R. Couch, director of academic affairs, Penn State Schuylkill

"As Penn State Schuylkill works on including sustainability into our five-year strategic plan, the guidebook provides a wonderful resource. It provides incredibly clear and useful tools that will guide us toward integrating sustainability into our plan and ultimately into all aspects of daily life at our campus," said Stephen R. Couch, director of academic affairs, Penn State Schuylkill.

Strategic sustainability enhances a unit’s ability to attract, engage and educate students; bring in and retain the top faculty, staff and administrators; advance research innovations and access to new funding sources; create new program innovations and enter new markets; and reduce operating costs and risks. It’s also, a carefully considered plan combining short- and long-term strategies, tied to a unit’s mission and goals, which advance the university’s sustainability vision and mission.

“Effective planning involves both creativity and discipline. The guidebook is a tool that can help organizations open their imaginations to the potential of sustainability, and provide pragmatic techniques and processes that can help them set and achieve goals.”
   -- Mike Dooris, executive director, Penn State Office of Institutional Assessment

“Effective planning involves both creativity and discipline. The guidebook is a tool that can help organizations open their imaginations to the potential of sustainability, and provide pragmatic techniques and processes that can help them set and achieve goals," said Mike Dooris, executive director, Penn State Office of Institutional Assessment.

The Sustainability Strategic Plan also outlines a core concept: the living laboratory for sustainability. One of the pilot summaries included is from the Smeal College of Business. One of their unique contributions to sustainability at Penn State is using its own building as a teaching tool as it goes for LEED-EB Certification7.

“This is just the first draft, the first vehicle off the line. It has not been road tested. We need help now to test these ideas, tools and frameworks, and make them even better."

                  -- Erik Foley, SI’s director of sustainability planning

“This is just the first draft, the first vehicle off the line. It has not been road tested. We need help now to test these ideas, tools and frameworks and make them even better,” explained the guidebook’s author Erik Foley, SI’s director of sustainability planning. “So I encourage teams to jump in, use the six step process and creatively engage with each stage of the journey toward your unique contribution to sustainability."

Also included in the guidebook are Penn State’s sustainability goals, tools to assist units in setting up their planning process and resources available for furthering their planning process.

It is available to planning teams at all campuses, locations, colleges and support units. To download a copy of the guidebook or to read more about Penn State’s Sustainability Institute’s unit-level strategic planning, visit http://sustainability.psu.edu/strategic-planning.

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Last Updated February 18, 2014