Sustainability at the University of Maryland

University Strategic Plan

In May 2008, the University adopted a new 10-year campus strategic plan, Transforming Maryland: Higher Expectations. The plan outlines an ambitious path for the University as it focuses on four "institutional priorities": (1) undergraduate education; (2) graduate education; (3) research, scholarship, and the creative and performing arts; and (4) partnerships, outreach, and engagement. Implementation of the plan will be guided by a set of action principles that will:

  • Build an inclusive community
  • Embrace the power of technology
  • Act with entrepreneurial spirit
  • Partner with others, globally and locally
  • Take responsibility for the future

While these action principles were written for the University as a whole, they support specific guidance within the strategic plan relative to the University’s commitment to becoming a leader in campus sustainability. Specifically, the plan encourages the campus to:

Take responsibility for the future, with dedication to enhancing the quality of life of all people, sustaining the natural environment, and reinforcing the capacity of Maryland’s citizens to thrive and prosper in a diverse, ever-changing, globally competitive environment. World-class universities anticipate emerging concerns and opportunities and marshal all their intellectual resources to address big issues. Maryland takes its responsibility to the future as a fundamental action principle with implications both near and far. We will be a campus that is a model for the sustainability of its environment, and we will be a university that seeks solutions to the world’s most challenging and vexing problems (2008, p. 3).

The University of Maryland will be widely recognized as a national model for a Green University. In ten years time the University will have made substantial progress towards addressing energy issues. It will have slashed energy use, expanded green spaces, dramatically reduced its carbon footprint, and built and retrofitted buildings to strict environmental standards. The University will complement these concrete actions with its teaching, research, and development efforts in energy science and policy, smart growth, environmental mapping, sustainable agriculture, and other fields. As the third largest "city" in the State, the University will have a significant impact as a leader and showcase for environmental sustainability (2008, p. 36).

Sustainability is one of the major challenges of this generation and the University plans to foster a learning, working, and living environment that will prepare students, faculty, and staff to tackle these challenges, ensuring an abundant future for the institution, the community, and beyond. The new Strategic Plan articulates the campus commitment to all that sustainability encompasses – social equity, environmental management, and economic prosperity. The University’s progress toward this "triple bottom-line" will be measured through campus-wide metrics and chronicled over time through the biennial Campus Sustainability Report.

Click here for excerpts from the 2008 Strategic Plan related to environmental stewardship and sustainability.