At the University of Idaho, sustainability is a core value that permeates all that we do. Our goal is to create sustainability leaders committed to making our world a better place. We are Idaho’s leader in sustainable solutions.
What Is Sustainability?
Sustainability is a commitment to our shared future through an integrated and comprehensive approach to education, research, thought and practice. It is the intentional focus on systems to improve efficiencies with our industry partners, conserve resources and encourage a balance of social, environmental and economic goals.
It is our responsibility to our students, our communities and our state to foster efforts to understand and improve on these goals.
The work we do in collaboration with Idaho industries promotes a healthy future for our state. It is our role as Idaho’s research leader to identify sustainable solutions that benefit traditional industries such as agriculture, forestry and mining in addition to elevating new energy industries and economic drivers.
Sustainability is one of five core values of the University of Idaho, the state’s land-grant research university:
“We embrace our personal and social obligation to ensure the sustainability of our future. For this community, ensuring a sustainable healthy lifestyle is part of a comprehensive desire to acknowledge stewardship of the natural environment to human interactions and well-being.”
View the entire Mission, Vision and Values statement for the University of Idaho.
The University of Idaho is a participant in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for universities to measure their sustainability performance. Our university has achieved a silver rating.
Check out our past STARS reports:
In addition to the standards set with the AASHE STARS program, the University of Idaho uses certain 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals to guide us in becoming a sustainable institution by focusing on environmental protection, economic viability and social equity. For more information on the history and implementation of the 17 goals, visit the United Nations SDGs page.
President Scott Green formed the Sustainability Working Group in Fall 2021 to develop and recommend strategies that would help the University of Idaho showcase its deep commitment to sustainability. The working group created a comprehensive plan for the university that focuses on academics, operations and the student experience.
The White Paper for Sustainable Solutions is our roadmap to incorporate sustainability into all that we do. This includes recommendations for our academic and research offerings, university operations and facilities, student culture, governance and data management. Read the Sustainable Solutions Plan.
In 2010, the university created its first Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines the steps the University of Idaho will need to take to become carbon neutral. The plan includes cost-effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as energy conservation, higher performance buildings and reducing fossil fuel use.
On March 3, 2005, former U of I President Tim White signed the Talloires Declaration. Becoming a signatory of the commitment was among the first steps the university took in the drive to integrate sustainability across campus. The Talloires Declaration is a commitment that was originally created in 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, and is comprised of an action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach for higher education institutions globally. As a Talloires signatory, the University of Idaho is working in conjunction with over 500 other universities in creating a more sustainable future. View the ULSF Talloires Declaration.
The University of Idaho is a signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (formerly known as the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), signed in 2007 by former U of I President Tim White. As a signatory, the university must: complete greenhouse gas emissions inventories, have target dates and milestones for becoming climate neutral, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make all action plans, inventories and progress reports publicly available. View the President’s Climate Leadership Commitments.