Intrinsic Value of Sustainability in Higher Education

ARAMARK's Leadership Series Tackles the Role of Higher Education in Forwarding Sustainability

Sep 06, 2013, 07:00 ET from ARAMARK

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ARAMARK, a global leader delivering food, facilities and uniform services, is pleased to announce the release of the 2013-2014 edition of Presidential Perspectives. Now in its eighth year, Presidential Perspectives is a collection of 10 thought provoking chapter essays authored by college and university presidents.  This year's theme of "Elevating Sustainability Through Academic Leadership," addresses how colleges and universities can support environmental stewardship initiatives while incorporating sustainability into their curriculum.

"America's colleges and universities are responsible for the majority of the scientific discovery and technological invention that has advanced sustainability science," explains Dr. Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University, and author of the edition's Foreword. "For academic institutions, fostering teaching and research that advances sustainability thus requires new institutional arrangements. But, more broadly, universities should be at the vanguard of producing societal transformation and solutions to the challenges that confront humanity."

In addition to remaining competitive academically, today's higher education institutions must also appeal to today's socially active students and ensure that they are providing a variety of sustainability programs as well as implementing environmental stewardship practices on their campuses. 

The first chapter essay of the series, entitled "Liberating Liberal Learning: Integrating Sustainability in the Curriculum," authored by Dr. David Shi, President Emeritus, Furman University, explains that "education for sustainability involves helping students imagine—and eventually enable—a better life for all by taking the long view about what really matters." When evaluating the impact of sustainability on higher education, Dr. Shi asserts that its reach goes far beyond the institution, the campus community or the individual student.

"Ultimately, sustainability is a strategic way of enhancing the interactive dynamics of people and place over time," writes Dr. Shi.  "It requires balancing the growth in human population and societal expectations with the earth's limited resources and carrying capacity. What could be more important than for students to develop the competencies necessary for creating a more sustainable civilization?"

Additional topical essays featured in the Presidential Perspectives series include preparing students for careers in sustainability, implementing environmentally responsible programs and practices on campus, the future of sustainability and its impact on higher education and more.

"It is easy for sustainability to become lost in the higher education dialogue given the myriad of other data, financial challenges, and public scrutiny," said Dr. Scott D. Miller, president of Bethany College, who along with Dr. Marylouise Fennell, senior counsel for the Council of Independent Colleges and past president of Carlow University, serve as executive editors of Presidential Perspectives.  "An institution's commitment to sustainability may seem like a luxury in and of itself at a time when higher education finds itself defending the value of a college degree; however, perhaps it is precisely because of the current economic environment that the tenets and impacts of sustainability deserve a second look".

Contributing thought leaders for this year's Presidential Perspectives include:

  • Dr. Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University
  • Dr. David E. Shi, President Emeritus, Furman University
  • Dr. Judith Ramaley, President Emerita, Winona State University
  • Dr. Mark Huddleston, University of New Hampshire
  • Dr. Wim Wiewel, Portland State University
  • Gloria Cordes Larson, Bentley College       
  • Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter, Frostburg State University               
  • Dr. Harry Lee Williams, Delaware State University  
  • Dr. Theodora J. Kalikow, University of Southern Maine 
  • Dr. Paul W. Ferguson, University of Maine
  • David F. Hales, President Emeritus, College of the Atlantic

Beginning in September, one chapter essay of Presidential Perspectives will be released each month on Current and past chapters also can be viewed on this site or by visiting

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Executive Editors

Media Contact:

Dr. Scott D. Miller

Kelly Banaszak


Dr. Marylouise Fennell