Sustainability Plan


Created in 2015, the University of St. Thomas Office of Sustainability Initiatives has built a comprehensive system to support the integration of sustainability across the curriculum and confer annual awards for sustainability innovation in the classroom. As a result, St. Thomas offers 95 courses that address sustainability, originating from over 80% of academic departments. From environmental science to engineering and social work, our faculty guide their curriculum and research with sustainability-oriented learning goals. More than one in 10 of our faculty members conduct research on sustainability. Nearly 60% of departments have at least one faculty member engaged in sustainability research. Our Sustainable Communities Partnership initiative has integrated 114 regional and on-campus sustainability projects into 100 courses across 24 disciplines. We also provide Sustainability Scholars grants to support student-faculty research collaborations. WHERE WE’RE HEADED BY 2024 1. Align and support a sustainability culture throughout campus We will draw upon the principles of Laudato Si to explore the role of sustainability in the university’s convictions through broad discussions with the university community and administration. We will establish a Sustainability Hub to link academic, cocurricular and operational initiatives on campus. The university will support sustainability work as valid interdisciplinary teaching and professional engagement in tenure and promotion decisions. 2. Offset emissions from academic travel We will investigate mission-appropriate approaches to carbon offsets, and implement a policy to offset carbon emissions from all study abroad air travel by 2024. We will also explore a policy to offset emissions from university-funded academic travel for professional development and research.


Empowering a new generation of ethical leaders By weaving sustainability throughout our curriculum, St. Thomas will educate the next generation of sustainability leaders who work to advance the common good. Faculty and student research will explore and advance campus sustainability and community resilience. Students will obtain real-world experience using campus and its operations as a living lab and through university-community collaborations. We will share the results of our work freely beyond the institution.



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