Dr. Paul W. Ferguson

Chapter 9

A Sustainability State of Mind:
Smart Growth for UMaine as a Green Campus with Blue Sky Thinking

  • Dr. Paul W. Ferguson President, University of Maine

Chapter Overview

Marten and Samels writing in The Sustainable University: A Need to Move Forward (2012) suggest that: "for a chief executive officer or trustee committee chair, sustainability is now as much about strategy as operations, as much about broad institutional identities as individual position papers." In quoting Anthony Cortese, founding president of Second Nature, they further challenge the placement of sustainability within higher education's priorities by suggesting that writers "continue to define sustainability as simply environmental, scientific, or technological, rather than as an element of the core mission of higher education: to produce graduates who will shape a thriving civil society…Sustainability is increasingly strategic and perhaps the most persistent wrong that presidents and provosts must now address is that sustainability initiatives are viewed as off to the side when strategic plans are developed for their campus."

This integration of sustainability into the fabric of the core mission of the university-developing a campus "sustainability state of mind", if you will, is precisely the commitment institutions should embrace. In his chapter, Dr. Ferguson offers an approach that has benefited the University of Maine, and could serve as a model to assist in Higher Education’s bottom line, saving dollars and cents in an environment of fiscal challenge while also preserving a sense of mission and place promoting communities of enlightened citizens.

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