Purpose – This paper seeks to suggest that the campus environmental audit can become an important tool that synergizes active learning and operations planning and management approaches to promote sustainability on university campuses. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents the author's experiences at Bishop's University with the evolution of the campus environmental audit program between 1993 and 2003. In those ten years, the campus environmental audit program began as an undergraduate thesis project, and then became transformed into a pedagogical tool for giving students active learning experience. The environmental audit program eventually became institutionalized when it received official recognition as a university‐sanctioned operations planning and management tool. Findings – These experiences are used to draw out the lessons learned about the integrative role of the campus environmental audit and the need for further research. Lessons include: the need to overcome important barriers of cost, fear of adverse publicity, and fear of potential legal problems associated with campus environmental auditing; the important role that inter‐personal relationships within the university plays in the successful implementation of any environmental auditing program; and the major influence on students of teachers who incorporate campus environmental auditing projects into their curriculum. Practical implications – These experiences at Bishop's University can serve as a model for other institutions. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research directions that are necessary to further explore the integrative role of the environmental audit on university campuses. Originality/value – As a ten‐year retrospective assessment of the evolution of campus environmental auditing at one university, the paper presents a novel approach to understanding the role of the environmental audit for promoting sustainability. The paper will have value for teachers and university administrators who wish to integrate sustainability initiatives with both higher education and campus operations planning and management goals in mind.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 2006
Keywords: Ecology; Integration; Sustainable development; Action learning; Operations management; Canada