Our Strategic Impact Group (SIG) came together to address a pressing “wicked problem” that extends well beyond Carleton: climate change and sustainability. This topic feels particularly urgent at Carleton, not only in the global context of UN reports on the climate crisis and the collapse of biodiversity, but also given the local disruptions to Carleton’s parking and transportation, which we see as an opportunity to foster a cultural shift on campus around carbon emissions.

Brainstorming a variety of ideas for potential campus initiatives, we realized we needed to find out, first, what was already being done at Carleton. Our information gathering brought us to one clear conclusion: there are an enormous number of initiatives around sustainability already active on campus, even in areas we had presumed were disengaged from sustainability. But none of us knew about this.

Carleton’s story of sustainability needs to be told, and those who want to be involved in making a difference need to be part of this story. Our SIG sees communications as a site of opportunity in Carleton’s sustainability efforts. We became aware that a formal communications plan around sustainability was in the works; however, we believe that impactful communications, and real social change, do not just happen through formal, designated offices and official websites, but also through meaningful person-to-person exchanges between colleagues; such collaborative micro-interactions can influence day-to-day choices at every level of the university.

Inspired by the Healthy Workplace program, whose success depends on its “Champions” fostering community engagement, and by Carleton’s emerging commitment to the indigenization of the university, which requires thinking differently about all aspects of university operations, we propose regarding all we do at Carleton through a lens of sustainability. Within this context, our SIG is focused on big questions and small but significant (inter-)actions: how best to facilitate those relationships, interactions, and conversations that will foster collective responsibility and meaningful action around sustainability on campus and beyond?

Aleksandra Blake, Subject Area Coordinator, Library
Vicki Boman, Student Support Case Manager, Student Affairs
Michael Cicchillitti, Assistant Manager, Child & Youth Programs, Athletics
Joseph Lorincz, Project Manager, Information Technology Services, PMO
Kevin McEwan, Grad Enrollment Management Officer, FGPA
Jodie Medd, Associate Professor, English
Nicole Merriman, Manager, Financial Accounting & Reporting, Finance
Bonnie Stephanson, Assistant Director, Health & Counselling