Sustainable universities: Rhetoric versus facts

Valerie Padilla Carroll*, Rhonda R. Janke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter summarizes several recent calls for higher education to adopt more sustainable, environmentally friendly practices, policies, and environmental literacy courses. It then reviews nine pledges and scorecards that contain metrics to determine if the university is making progress toward sustainability goals. Most of the scorecards consider only environmental policy, and only two include any social policy recommendations. In addition, cultural systems, specifically the concepts that underpin capitalism and consumerism, are problematic when used to structure both universities and their environmental policy. Specific questions and recommendations with respect to underlying issues are provided to get at whether university policies embrace both social and environmental issues. Higher education needs to address both environmental policy and social policy to achieve genuine sustainability goals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Policy is Social Policy - Social Policy is Environmental Policy
Subtitle of host publicationToward Sustainability Policy
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781461467236
ISBN (Print)1461467225, 9781461467229
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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