Is the “maize‐and‐blue” turning green? Sustainability at the University of Michigan

Is the “maize‐and‐blue” turning green? Sustainability at the University of Michigan Although popular press and internal media have dubbed the University of Michigan (U of M) a “sustainability leader”, it is not clear whether this label reflects a true commitment to environmental and interrelated social issues or simply a savvy public relations campaign. This case study (1997‐2002) explores these possibilities by analyzing the environmental organizational change process and outcomes at Michigan through my experiences as a student, activist, researcher and employee. I conclude that while the U of M is not an environmental laggard, the recent media attention exaggerates the campus’ progress by ignoring the fact that sustainability efforts are scattered and have not deeply permeated the culture, leadership, policies and practices of the institution. In terms of campus sustainability advocacy, this analysis highlights the importance of coordination and institutional leaders, a “spark” to move environmental issues onto the campus agenda, and tailoring advocacy approaches to stakeholder interests. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Is the “maize‐and‐blue” turning green? Sustainability at the University of Michigan

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 MCB UP Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/14676370310485465
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although popular press and internal media have dubbed the University of Michigan (U of M) a “sustainability leader”, it is not clear whether this label reflects a true commitment to environmental and interrelated social issues or simply a savvy public relations campaign. This case study (1997‐2002) explores these possibilities by analyzing the environmental organizational change process and outcomes at Michigan through my experiences as a student, activist, researcher and employee. I conclude that while the U of M is not an environmental laggard, the recent media attention exaggerates the campus’ progress by ignoring the fact that sustainability efforts are scattered and have not deeply permeated the culture, leadership, policies and practices of the institution. In terms of campus sustainability advocacy, this analysis highlights the importance of coordination and institutional leaders, a “spark” to move environmental issues onto the campus agenda, and tailoring advocacy approaches to stakeholder interests.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 1, 2003

Keywords: Ecology; Students; Environmental management; Higher education

References

  • Sustainability management in campus housing: a case study at the University of Michigan
    Shriberg, M.
  • Toward sustainable management: the University of Michigan Housing Division's approach
    Shriberg, M.

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