About HSC Sustainability
HSC’s mission is to “create solutions for a healthier community”. The Office of Sustainability within Facilities Management supports that mission by advancing sustainable practices through educational outreach, HSC operations, and partnering with other departments/organizations on campus as well as in the community.
The Office of Sustainability was founded in 2012 after HSC students voted in a fee to fund environmental improvements on campus. This fee funds initiatives and projects such as the HSC Community Garden, bottle filling stations, alternative transportation, and much more. Before the Office of Sustainability was founded, the campus (through Facilities Management) had been implementing strategies to be good stewards of our resources. These initiatives continue to today and include reducing energy usage, conserving water, and recycling to name. In fact, Facilities Management’s energy efforts have saved the university over $6 million since 2000.
Defining Sustainability for HSC
Sustainability is a complicated term to define since it can be applied to many different topics. In most definitions of sustainability there are three pillars: Environment, Society, and Economy. HSC Sustainability sees the environment as encompassing the other two pillars since “everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment” (EPA 2020). The Society pillar strives for fair, equitable treatment of all people as well as healthy communities. The Economy pillar seeks to ensure long term economic benefits. In short, sustainability means we consider our future campus, community, and world as we make decisions today through the lens of environmental preservation, social welfare, and economic viability.
“Sustainability is the continued protection of human health and the environment while fostering economic prosperity and societal well-being.” (Fiksel et al. 2012)
As you can see from the section above, there is much to do done in the world of sustainability. In fact, the UN has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (see them all here). Here at HSC, the Office of Sustainability is primarily focused on the environmental component of sustainability although the social and economic components are woven throughout our initiatives and all that we do. We hold true to the desire our students expressed back in 2010 when they voted in a fee to fund more environmental improvements on campus. We do partner with other departments and organizations on campus to fully work towards sustainability in all its components.
Vision for HSC Sustainability
HSC trains future health care providers, researchers and scientists across many programs, and our purpose is to “transform lives in order to improve the lives of others”. HSC Sustainability’s vision is to align with that purpose by transforming our students and employees into people with a sustainability mindset. We desire for every student to be impacted by sustainability while they are here and carry those lessons and passion forward into their careers in health care. Our desire for our employees is to change the culture on campus towards sustainability and that sustainability will play a part in all of our daily operations as well as in our personal lives.