The path to sustainability began for Fort Lewis over twenty years ago with the creation of a student club called Students for a Sustainability Society. With help from Professor Don Gordon and others, the students created a paper recycling project called “The Paper Chase.” This project grew and in 1991, students won support from the student government to create the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center that has provided consistent leadership on campus sustainability issues.
At the same time, staff members at Fort Lewis have taken initiative on management of the College’s landscape, water, waste, energy, as well as purchasing decisions. These actions have grown from a deep-seated respect for the natural environment that attracted many of staff members to Southwest Colorado.
Fort Lewis College faculty have also had a longstanding interest in sustainability, offering innovative courses examining questions of ecology, equity, and economy. Student projects associated with these course and programs have resulted in community institutions with staying power, such the Durango Farmer’s Market and The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado.
President Brad Bartel drew upon this tradition in 2007 by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) prior to the College’s Earth Week keynote address by noted author David Orr. President Bartel’s action made Fort Lewis a charter signatory of the agreement. Over six hundred institutions across the country have now signed the agreement. The Commitment pledges that Fort Lewis will come up with a plan to create a carbon neutral campus.
Pathways to Sustainability is the culmination of over two years of work by students, staff, and faculty to fulfill this commitment and renew Fort Lewis’ leadership in this important arena. You can get on the path to sustainability by getting involved.