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Administration, Development, and Planning

Participation and leadership from University administration legitimizes campus sustainability efforts and encourages continued innovation. It also recognizes the importance of putting more forethought into campus practices in an effort to create a culture of sustainability that transcends the campus-life experience for the whole community.


The University of Kansas seeks to take the cultural, economic, environmental and social impacts of decisions into account in a way that will balance the collective relationship between the campus community and our physical resources and will make the campus wholly sustainable.


Key achievements in working toward this vision, and the corresponding strategy (in parentheses), include:

  • The Center for Sustainability has adopted the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) as a self-evaluation tool. In 2012, KU submitted its first STARS report, receiving a Bronze rating and subsequently improved to a Silver rating in 2015. (ADP 1.1.1)
  • The campus strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, recognizes sustainability as an essential concept and includes sustainability-related research initiatives, "Sustaining the Planet, Powering the World", "Promoting Well-Being, Finding Cures" and "Building Communities, Expanding Opportunities". Additionally, the plan includes goals related to enhancing student learning through experiential learning and redesigned courses, which supports the vision of Building Sustainable Traditions. (ADP 1.2.1)
  • In 2015, sustainability concepts were added the new employee orientation in the form of both highlights delivered by the orientation leader and a reference flier outlining recycling and energy conservation practices. A suite of videos has been created to provide additional details through a Learning Management module. (ADP 1.4.2)
  • The Sustainability Ambassador program, which connects campus departments working to create more sustainable work environments, has grown to include 99 individuals representing 93 departments throughout campus. (ADP 3.1.6)
  • The Green Office program has been revised to include advanced actions and practices, including those that encourage participation in new recycling and energy conservation initiatives on campus, providing a platform for offices to challenge themselves to pursue even better practices. (ADP 3.1.6)
  • In 2015, the University established Crops to Campus, the Lawrence campus Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Nearly 200 subscribers from KU participated in the first year, and end-of-season survey results showed the 62% of participants credited the program with them eating more fresh produce than usual. (ADP 2.2.3)
  • In 2011, the KU Sustainability Leadership Awards program, an effort to recognize efforts of individuals and programs to advance sustainability on campus and in the community, was expanded to include a social justice award.  Awards for faculty and student research were added in 2015.  (ADP 3.1.4)
  • A "Sustainability & Environment" tab was added to the KU News page, further highlighting the work being done by the campus community in this area. (ADP 3.2.2)
  • In 2013, the Energy Office was added to KU Operations to monitor energy use on campus, enact energy conservation measures (ECM), and track the performance of ECMs in buildings. (ADP 1.2.3)

Coronavirus Update

KU Recycling and KU Surplus have resumed services. As part of our efforts to reduce an on-campus presence and promote social distancing, we will continue to limit special collections that are not mission critical. For updated information on KU's response to COVID-19, visit protect.ku.edu

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