Legacy of Sustainability

Slippery Rock University (SRU) is committed to being at the forefront of preparing the next generation of thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs to help the world meet its profound environmental challenges. We are also focused on meeting the sustainability goals set forth in our Climate Action Plan that is our road map to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2037, in keeping with the President's Climate Commitment and our Strategic Plan, Trend Five: The world is reaching a point of diminishing returns regarding resource utilization.

Sustainability initiatives and resources at SRU are coordinated through the SRU Office of Sustainability, which coordinates and leverages the efforts of all sustainability- and environmentally-related SRU organizations and groups. It is also responsible for collecting data on sustainability curriculum, co-curricular activities and events, research and publications; reporting our progress in all these areas; and providing community outreach for all sustainability initiatives on and off campus.

The Vision of SRU's Office of Sustainability is to do all within our power to protect the environment, improve social equity, and achieve sustainable economic benefits in order to leave this planet a better place for future generations. 

Our Mission is to expedite the achievement of SRU's sustainability goals by coordinating and leveraging our considerable community resources in an integrated manner.

SRU defines "sustainability" as "the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For an action to be sustainable, it must be environmentally benign, economically justifiable, and socially just."

The term "triple bottom line" is often used to gauge whether a product or activity is sustainable; the triple bottom line involves social equity, energy economics, and environmental protection (the three legs supporting sustainability - if it's good for people, the planet, and profitability, it's sustainable!).

The principles of sustainability are not new to the University. Did you know, for instance, that Slippery Rock University began ... "as an exercise in Permaculture Design launched independently by the citizens of Slippery Rock Borough as an attempt to provide qualified teachers for public schools in western Pennsylvania? They raised the money, bought the land, built the first building, hired the faculty, and recruited the students without any help from the state whatsoever. Since most of the students were poor in material wealth, a way had to be found for them to support their studies while contributing to the common enterprise. A self-sufficient community was the answer. Since the land purchased for the school was a farm, it continued to be operated by the students and staff. They raised, prepared and preserved their own food; ran their own dairy and beef herds, handled their own cleaning and maintenance needs, and even mined their own coal from a hillside now covered with a string of dormitories. Wherever possible, they took care of themselves and each other while preparing to offer service to the wider community." (Robert A. Macoskey, The Alternator, January, 1988). To view a digital collection of The Alternator newsletter, click here.

Slippery Rock University continues to espouse and follow sustainable principles in the conduct of its mission to provide high quality undergraduate and graduate academic instruction, as well as in its complementary missions to conduct scholarly research, promote professional performance, and address the educationally-related economic, health, environmental, social, cultural, and recreational needs of the region served by the university.