Lawrence signs sustainability pact

Cuong Nguyen

Sustainability is a very familiar word to many of us. It is the theme of this school year and it has been mentioned repeatedly in speeches and articles. In the first convocation of the school year, President Jill Beck stressed the importance of environmental sustainability and launched a campus-wide initiative focusing on raising awareness and encouraging a “think green” attitude. Recently, Lawrence signed the Talloires Declaration to prove its commitment to sustainability.
In 1990 during a conference in Talloires, France, the Talloires Declaration was created to prove educational institutions’ roles as world leaders in developing, promoting and maintaining global sustainability. Jean Mayer, the late president of Tufts University, hosted the conference. Twenty-two universities were in attendance. Since then, numerous presidents of universities across the world have signed the declaration. The document itself includes a ten-point plan that focuses on education and taking action against current problems.
By signing the Talloires Declaration, Lawrence has committed itself to promoting the understanding of sustainability not only among the student body, but also in the community. All of the universities that sign the declaration agree to set examples of environmental responsibility through policies and practices of environmentally friendly operations. An example is the establishment of the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden, which has been providing Downer with agricultural products for several years.
Moreover, the college is also encouraged to engage in education, research, policy and information-exchange on current issues. The ultimate aim is that Lawrence will ensure that all graduates are “environmentally literate and have the awareness and understanding to be ecologically responsible citizens.” In other words, there will be programs designed to make students “think green.”
Additionally, Lawrence will also enhance the capability of the faculty to teach environmental literacy to students. Taking these actions will significantly increase the involvement of students and faculty.
Lawrence will collaborate with national government, international government, industries and community organizations on information exchange, education and research. The cooperation will include establishing partnerships with other learning institutions, such as primary and secondary schools, to help develop the capacity for teaching about sustainable development for young citizens.
The final aim of the Talloires Declaration is to reach the goal of global sustainability in the future. By signing the Talloires Declaration, Lawrence is taking a step toward sustainability and proving that it is more than just a word.