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New Coastal initiative mandates sustainability

October 26, 2005

A new initiative established by Coastal Carolina University will place increased emphasis on environmental management as a campuswide priority. The Coastal Carolina University Campus and Community Sustainability Initiative will promote the practice of sustainability in all campus endeavors, including university curriculum, and serve as a resource to the community.

The announcement of the initiative coincides with Campus Sustainability Day, a national event encouraging U.S. institutions of higher education to take a leading role in preserving our natural resources. Sustainability is defined as development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising resources for future generations.

The ultimate purpose of this program is to transform Coastal into a sustainable university, according to Dan Abel, director of the initiative. CCU recognizes that it is essentially a small city, with 7,500 students and approximately 1,000 faculty and staff, and as such consumes enormous amounts of energy and material resources and produces massive quantities of waste, said Abel, who is also an associate professor of marine science at Coastal. Thus, the university has a moral obligation to get its own house in order by applying significant financial, operational and intellectual resources to minimize the impact.

Coastal is a member of the S.C. Sustainable University Initiative, a statewide association of higher education institutions committed to promoting environmental responsibility through teaching, research, community service and facilities management. To date, 13 four-year and technical schools have joined the organization.

Because institutions of higher education should be leaders in this important movement, the Coastal initiative will do its part to ensure that every student who crosses the threshold of our institution, regardless of major, understands the concept of sustainability and his or her responsibility to practice it both at CCU and when they graduate, said Abel.