Consortium for Ecological Living

April 7, 2015

UVM has begun to view student advocacy for social and environmental causes as a natural avenue for cultivating a deeper sense of civic and social responsibility and a skill in constructive advocacy that complements institutional values and supports our mission which includes preparing our students to lead creative, productive and responsible lives.

Environmental Advocacy
The University has a strong commitment to utilizing effective environmental practices in its daily operations. One aspect of this is the introduction of sound ecological design into all plans for renovation and construction of facilities on campus. A group of students have formed The Consortium for Ecological Living (CEL) as a vehicle for increasing the efficiency and long-term sustainability of the campus as well as to educate the community about the benefits of ecological mindfulness. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this student-initiated effort. First, the students involved have a broad vision combined with a very practical objective of working within the system to introduce changes that will gradually achieve that vision. They want to promote environmentally sound campus strategies that will make UVM an exemplary learning environment for exploring ecologically sound principles of campus design, campus operations and the creation of an educational setting that promotes mindfulness about the environment. They have chosen, however, to approach this vision by advocating to the campus community projects and concepts that are consistent with their larger vision but also practical and workable with our current resource base and culture. The leaders of this group have invited students from many different disciplines to work together to create practical and constructive alternatives that can enhance the campus community and introduce sound environmental practices.

CEL is a very diverse group of students drawn from many fields who work together to offer a meaningful student voice in campus planning. As a recent example, CEL has participated in the early design of a new library extension/student center “”information gateway”” project and has advocated for incorporating concepts of ecological design into the building so that it will be cost-effective, sustainable long-term, and an important example of ecological design on campus. They have taken as their motto the quotation from Margaret Mead, “”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”” The members of this group, encouraged and supported by the administration and faculty, are learning how to make a real difference and leave a lasting mark on this institution.

CEL web site

University of Vermont - VT, Vermont
President: Judith Ramaley
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