A North Carolina campus makes a big, bold commitment to a more thoughtful approach to living, learning, and growing.
Reduce energy consumption 40% by 2025
Building on growing sustainability efforts and service to the greater community of eastern North Carolina, East Carolina University (ECU) engaged GreenerU in fall 2017 to facilitate a sustainability strategic planning process with multiple stakeholders on and off campus.
Over the course of a year (2017-2018), GreenerU directed more than 60 students, faculty, staff, and community representatives who participated in a facilitated process to map out the direction for ECU’s sustainability program from 2019 to 2023.
Using a combination of STARS reporting, benchmarking data, and the University’s overall strategic priorities, ECU created four sustainability priorities and committees to develop goals within each category: climate change mitigation, academics and research, campus grounds, and materials management.
“Being good stewards of our environment and natural resources requires individual responsibility and campuswide engagement, but it also demands that we assume a leadership role in our region,” writes ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton in the plan. “Sustainability is not just a one-and-done project. It is an ongoing commitment to a more thoughtful approach to the way we live, the way we learn, and the way we grow our university and the communities around us.”
The process actively engaged more than 60 students, faculty, staff, and community members in plan development, recognizing that community buy-in for both the planning and implementation phases would be a crucial component of the plan’s success. The plan also aligns with ECU’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 (Capture Your Horizon) and Comprehensive Campus Master Plan (published in 2012).
Chad Carwein, who came to ECU in 2016 as its first sustainability manager, said in an ECU News Services post that the project “has been a big undertaking—a lot of challenges, but also a lot of opportunity.”
Key to GreenerU’s success with ECU has been providing ongoing remote strategic support for meetings and debriefs, facilitation training for focus area meetings, drafting and preparing the final written plan, and on-site facilitation of all stakeholders to create a shared vision, goals, and strategies for the plan.
Ultimately, what will drive ECU’s success is the shared sense of ownership and the empowerment of ECU stakeholders to carry out the plan’s objectives.
“I really look forward to implementing this plan,” Carwein said. “This is the future of making our campus and our workplace more sustainable, and we need everybody on board. Sustainability is a team sport.”