In the past year, we’ve seen a singular global focus on overcoming a deadly pandemic. This has led many to ask: What if we approached the ongoing climate change crisis with the same degree of urgency and priority? Our own education community has an important role to play in the discussion and the solution.
As institutions think about their next normal and what it means to infuse all aspects of operations and service with transformation, it is increasingly critical for leaders to prioritize the really big sustainability questions of our time as well. These global issues tie back to institution survival, but also on a more optimistic note, institutions’ ongoing success.
Higher Ed Can Lead the Sustainability Conversation
Over the next 30 years, the world will invest more than $11 trillion in zero-carbon technologies. It’s exciting to see passionate discussion from diverse groups, and in particular from our student voices. The connection between higher ed and sustainability is clear.
The campus is where researchers are working on ways to solve critical environmental issues, and where the next generation of learners connects their environmental passion with careers in new green industries. At the same time, university campuses also use natural resources that generate waste that ultimately impacts the surrounding community and ecosystem.
Sustainability is Within Reach for Every Institution
In June, the Salesforce.org Education Cloud community will convene for our virtual Education Summit with our co-host, the University of Colorado. The University of Colorado school system has incorporated sustainability into its operations, academics, and engagement strategies, and has a number of initiatives in place targeting areas from on-campus recycling to green buildings to campus dining.
Likewise, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is doing amazing work to achieve its sustainability goals like becoming the first public university to divest from direct fossil fuel holdings.
Institution Success Relies on Sustainability and a Holistic Data View
So, how can you take action on improving sustainability at your institution? If a CRM can be used to manage an institution’s relationship with prospective and current students, faculty and staff, and corporate entities, why not use a CRM to manage an institution’s relationship with the environment? With digital transformation being front and center for many university leaders, why not also break down the data silos and empower leaders to see a clear picture of environmental impact?
To get even more specific, a university might explore looking at Sustainability Cloud, which empowers decision makers to see the full picture of an institution’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. This can then motivate an Institution’s leadership to enact strategies like staff travel reduction where possible, the purchase of carbon offsets (i.e., to account for the environmental impact of study abroad programs), a switch to more local providers of food, and the prioritization of zero carbon facilities when new capital projects break ground.
The incredibly complex challenge of sustainability in the era of modern living will require many solutions and ultimately a fundamental shift in how we live and consume. Educational institutions have a pivotal role to play in leading positive change by both inspiring the next generation of stewards for the planet and by incorporating environmental best practices into plans for institution success.
Get inspired with these sustainability resources:
- Read “The Unexpected Ways Climate Change Is Reshaping College Education”
- Earn a badge on Trailhead by learning more about the SDGs
- Learn about One Trillion Trees
- Visualize sustainability with Tableau
- Watch a webinar: How to drive climate action with Sustainability Cloud
- Combine implementation services with sustainability technology
About the Author
Geshri believes that access to a meaningful education can open doors, improve the quality of the workforce, and propel societies forward. She’s passionate about using her diverse analytical experiences to build a company that wants to have a real social impact. Geshri brings a variety of EdTech business experiences to the table, including working directly with clients, internal stakeholders and senior leadership, all of which are supplemented by top tier formal undergraduate and graduate educations.