Sustainable Communities Network in Arkansas
Through collaborative efforts of the sustainability minor program, the Applied Sustainability Center, and the Environmental Dynamics program, we will be conducting an in-depth review of current sustainability metrics. A first look into past review studies reveals that there are both examples of success and failure that we can use as learning lessons. Metrics have spanned a wide array of indicators ranging from environmental, to social, and to economic. The goal of this review is to discover which have been most effective in providing a next step for users to act upon. From this research, we will be developing a sustainable communities network in Arkansas that ranks the cities based on our metrics study. There are already a number of cities committed to being part of the network and there is a planned conference in October to share the project findings from the summer. The common saying that we manage what we measure is the driving force behind the project. We firmly believe that continued substantial improvements in the arena of sustainability will occur only when accompanied by useful indices. An index provides the information and actionable items that decisionmakers can employ to be better informed for planning for the future. Current efforts, such as at the Sustainability Consortium, focus on opportunity coming out of index research rather than simple reporting. With our research this summer, we intend to pinpoint those opportunities that are available to the AASHE community and further build our capacity as a collaborative to successfully pursue sustainability.
To provide university curriculum and outreach programs with tangible tools to consider for measuring sustainability at institutions of higher education and surrounding communities. A participant will also become familiar with the process of partnership engagement and the connection of school research to policy outcomes at the state level.