Augustana Earns Major Grant to Advance Sustainability
Augustana University has received a six-figure grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, a nonprofit dedicated to helping society, the arts and the environment.
The grant will allow Augustana to launch a campus-wide strategic plan to integrate sustainability into aspects such as its curriculum, its co-curricular initiatives, operations and identity.
Implementation of the grant will be directed through the president’s office with leadership provided by a campus sustainability council. Three student assistants will provide data analysis, marketing, communications and coordination support.
The top priorities of the campus sustainability council are to create and implement a five-year sustainability strategic plan by September 2020. The strategy, accommodated by the grant, is to further strengthen Augustana’s current and future sustainability efforts.
For the last decade, Augustana has been focused on developing its social responsibility efforts.
- In 2013, the Augustana Bike Club and Bike Shop were founded, allowing students to rent bikes and/or have their bikes maintained.
- Also in 2013, a series of automated-bottle filling stations were installed across campus, encouraging the use of reusable bottles instead of the disposable plastic ones.
- In 2014, Augustana collaborated with Sioux Area Metro (SAM) so that students and staff with an ID card can board and ride city buses for free. This strategic alliance successfully promoted public transportation for a greener campus.
- In 2016, the University’s Ordal Dining Room implemented trayless dining to reduce food waste, energy, and water.
- The Froiland Science Complex, Augustana’s latest building, was constructed with the LEED-Silver designation for an eco-friendlier setting.
These University commitments were recognized by the Princeton Review in 2017.
“Much has been done, but more opportunities are ahead of us,” said University officials.
According to council members, Augustana has the potential to move from the foundational stage of sustainability to the revolutionary stage. A five-year sustainability strategic plan will make it possible for the University to learn from its current position, identify benchmark practices, advance sustainability ideas and evaluate sustainability efforts in a measurable and identifiable way. Many great objectives and incoming plans are set and hoped to be achieved by the end of the three-year grant period.
University officials say the grant creates the possibility for Augustana to implement a sustainability-focused academic program by 2021 to include at least six new or redesigned courses from different disciplinary perspectives. In addition to curricular enhancements, co-curriculum endeavors will also be subject to the adoption of sustainability. A campus garden, outdoor classrooms, and student-led sustainability activities will be developed as well. The Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2018, was the first official activity of this comprehensive sustainability initiative.
“The integration of sustainability into campus-wide disciplines gives Augustana students great opportunities for integrative and experiential learning,” officials said. "Augustainability would become the complete interpretation of Augustana’s motto ‘Enter to learn, Leave to serve.’”