Sustainability on Campus

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Sustainability on Campus

Stories and Strategies for Change

Edited by Peggy F. Barlett and Geoffrey W. Chase

Stories both practical and inspirational about environmental leadership on campus.





Stories both practical and inspirational about environmental leadership on campus.

These personal narratives of greening college campuses offer inspiration, motivation, and practical advice. Written by faculty, staff, administrators, and a student, from varying perspectives and reflecting divergent experiences, these stories also map the growing strength of a national movement toward environmental responsibility on campus.Environmental awareness on college and university campuses began with the celebratory consciousness-raising of Earth Day, 1970. Since then environmental action on campus has been both global (in research and policy formation) and local (in efforts to make specific environmental improvements on campuses). The stories in this book show that achieving environmental sustainability is not a matter of applying the formulas of risk management or engineering technology but part of what the editors call "the messy reality of participatory engagement in cultural transformation."

In Sustainability on Campus campus leaders recount inspiring stories of strategies that moved eighteen colleges and universities toward a more sustainable future. This book is for faculty, students, administrators, staff, and community partners, whether hesitant or committed, knowledgeable or newcomer. Scholars and activists have recognized the crucial role that higher education can play in the sustainability effort, and each chapter in the book is full of ideas about how to get started, revitalize efforts, and overcome roadblocks. Human and at times joyful, these stories illustrate many forms of leadership, in new courses and faculty development, green buildings and administrative policies, student programs, residential life, and collaborations with local communities.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262025607 337 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 b&w illus.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262524223 337 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 b&w illus.


Peggy F. Barlett

Peggy F. Barlett is Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. She received a BA in anthropology from Grinnell College (1969) and the PhD in anthropology at Columbia University (1975). A cultural anthropologist specializing in agricultural systems and sustainable development, she carried out fieldwork in economic anthropology in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and rural Georgia (USA). Earlier work focused on farmer decision making, rural social change, and industrial agriculture. She has published Agricultural Choice and Change: Decision Making in a Costa Rican Community (1982, Rutgers University Press), American Dreams, Rural Realities: Family Farms in Crisis (1993, University of North Carolina Press) and is editor of Agricultural Decision Making: Anthropological Contributions to Rural Development (1980, Academic Press). Recently, interests in the challenge of sustainability in urban Atlanta have given her an opportunity to return to early training in applied anthropology and to combine it with interests in political economy, group dynamics, and personal development. Part of a growing movement toward sustainability at Emory, she has focused on expanding awareness of environmental issues through curriculum development (the Piedmont Project), campus policies, and connections to place. She also has interests in local food systems and a local Watershed Alliance. She is the coeditor (with Geoffrey Chase) of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change (MIT Press, 2004).

Geoffrey W. Chase

Geoffrey W. Chase is Dean of Undergraduate Studies at San Diego State University. He is the editor of four textbooks and the coeditor (with Peggy Barlett) of Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change (MIT Press).


  • [A] must-read... take notes, and be amazed at the number of ways to achieve campus sustainability.

    Steve Lachman



  • Anyone who wishes to stem global warming in ways sensitive to the practical realities of running schools and businesses—or who simply wishes to be an effective leader in any walk of life—will want to read this terrific contribution to the field of higher education stewardship.

    Julian Keniry

    author of Ecodemia: Campus Environmental Stewardship at the Turn of the 21st Century

  • Barlett and Chase do not simply wish to spray paint campuses a superficial green, but instead have probed the depths of what sustainability really means in academia, 'the grove of trees where scholars once walked and talked.' In bringing together cutting-edge thinkers and practitioners like Jenks-Jay, Orr, Faulstich, and Uhl, the editors have given me hope that universities and colleges can lead rather than lag behind in efforts to forge a future that will leave the next generation of students enriched, not impoverished.

    Gary Nabhan

    Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments, Northern Arizona University, and author of Coming Home to Eat

  • Societies look to universities for leadership, and nowhere is that leadership more crucial today than in the struggle for sustainability. The stories presented here are inspiring models of success that show how the lessons learned on campus can illuminate the way to broad social change.

    Gretchen C. Daily

    editor of Nature's Services and co-author of The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable

  • This book's strength lies in the diversity of case studies and approaches to campus initiatives to lessen their 'environmental footprint,' as well as the honest reflections by most authors upon the successes and the failures, the joys and the heartaches, of their efforts.

    John M. Meyer

    Department of Government and Politics, Humboldt State University; author of Political Nature: Environmentalism and the Interpretation of Western Thought

  • This is a hopeful book, and I found every story within it to be a gem. The editors and authors have done a great service through their work over the years and by sharing their stories in this unusually compelling book. Instead of preachy admonitions, these aremoving personal testimonials with broader community significance.

    Julian Keniry

    Director of Youth and Campus Ecology, National Wildlife Federation, author of Ecodemia: Campus Environmental Stewardship at the Turn of the 21st Century