ERIC Number: EJ922904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
Sustaining Change on a Canadian Campus: Preparing Brock University for a Sustainability Audit
Mitchell, Richard C.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, v12 n1 p7-21 2011
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to prepare for a campus sustainability audit at the main campus of Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Design/methodology/approach: An inductive, qualitative approach was undertaken with data comprised of analyses of key stakeholder interviews, a review of literature, and a systematic collation of campus-based sustainability initiatives taking place in 2008-2009. Findings: The study offers qualitatively analyzed evidence that even smaller and mid-size Canadian campuses with limited budgets can successfully move forward with sustainability initiatives in multi-systemic, synergistic partnerships that cross-professional and disciplinary boundaries. Furthermore, inductive methodologies should not be overlooked in this process. While most of the sample of interviewees in this exploratory study agreed to be involved in current and future sustainability initiatives, interestingly, there were also concerns that discovery of any negative findings could cast a shadow on "green" efforts already underway. The findings also indicate a number of leading edge initiatives taking place at Brock University including a co-generation power plant, and "green" construction of new buildings as well as those in the planning stages. Without a formal governance structure or a common theoretical framework in place, a broad spectrum of definitions on "sustainability" from key stakeholders was found ranging from an environmental focus to those based solely upon economics, and a combination of the two were prevalent. The absence of any systemic, coordinated and comprehensive approach on the university's main campus was the main negative finding--one that previously hampered growth of synergistic partnerships. Originality/value: Owing to its geographical location in the Canada's Niagara Escarpment as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Biospheres and its recent emergence as a comprehensive university, it is apparent that Brock University is well placed with potential for a leadership role in promoting ethical and green consumption practices on its campuses and within the region. This qualitative study provides a contemporary, interdisciplinary conceptual framework for understanding how important synergies may be brought to bear in this new policy arena within and beyond academia.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Campuses, Governance, Foreign Countries, Leadership, Sustainability, Audits (Verification), Interviews, Geographic Location, Universities, Ethics, Interdisciplinary Approach, Conservation (Environment)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada