Sustainability at Centenary College

Individuals, educational institutions, and businesses around the world are working to live conscientiously, thinking about how today's behaviors impact the future of our planet. At the beginning of 2010, the Centenary community challenged itself to reduce energy consumption through 14 simple and free or low cost actions. As part of the challenge, administrators agreed with the Centenary College Sustainability Task Force that ten cents for every energy dollar saved would be set aside to fund future sustainability efforts. By end of 2010, and the college had saved over $100,000 in energy costs and set aside $10,000 to promote bigger movements towards carbon neutrality as part of the 2011 Energy Challenge.

students with solar array

What Is Sustainability?

One useful definition of sustainability, introduced by J. B. Callicott and K. Mumford (1997, 34), focuses on the ecological constraints that inform and govern an individual’s or institution’s ability to maintain “in the same place at the same time two interactive ‘things.’” These two ‘things’ are “culturally selected human economic activities and ecosystem health.” How does this relate to Centenary College? Our institutional culture must assume responsibility for selecting economic activities that contribute to the health of ecosystems, including the local, regional, national, and global communities we serve. Activities like the "Energy Challenge" and recycling are important actions that help us fulfill our societal obligation as an informed and ecologically responsible institution. That is, Centenary College is dedicated to using our current natural resources in such a way that doesn’t compromise the capacity of future generations to satisfy their material needs. While we have made substantial improvements in our sustainability efforts, there is always room for improvement. Making upgrades to existing infrastructure and more prudent use of environmental and financial resources remain two primary objectives of our ongoing efforts. Please join us in planning and implementing a strong sustainability initiative here at Centenary College. You can do your part by cutting energy costs, recycle items like paper, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans, and by promoting a healthy and sustainable campus community.

Callicott, J. B., and K. Mumford. 1997. Ecological sustainability as a conservation concept. Conservation Biology 11(1):32-40.