Putting the Strategic Plan into practice

The University of Lethbridge's 2009-2013 Strategic Plan is a plan for the future, one that will chart the general direction of the University over the next five years.

It is a promise to stay true to who we are and continue doing what we do very well – fostering a personal, supportive learning community; ensuring professors are inspired scholars who integrate research and creativity with teaching; and delivering relevant programs that are meaningful and useful to our students.

Within this plan are strategic directions and priorities by which the University will shape its future. This month we look at the goal of enhancing the environmental sustainability of the University.

Dr. Sarah Boon, one of the University's newest researchers, is an assistant professor of Geography with an emphasis on environmental science working out of the new Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building. She gives her perspective on how the University can enhance its environmental sustainability.

On how she sees herself in the Strategic Plan

"I see myself in the plan as sort of the beginning of where I see the University wanting to go, in terms of the aspects around the environment, the aspects around research and engaging graduate students. In hiring me and some of my newer colleagues, it seems they are looking in a new direction and that direction is echoed in the Strategic Plan."

On how her research focus advances the idea of environmental sustainability

"I liked the idea that I was coming to the University for an environmental science position. My general area of research is mountain hydrology, looking at snow melt and glacier melt and how that contributes to runoff from mountain systems."

On how her research can be used to encourage students to follow her lead of studying environmental matters

"I think I'm already on plan in terms of bringing my personal experiences into the classroom and allowing that to inform a lot of my teaching and show enthusiasm for the topics I'm trying to teach."

On the University's role as a leader in environmental messaging

"I think the role of the University is to lead by example. Whether that is how we are operating in terms of physical plant or whether that's the message our professors are getting out either by public lectures or by what they are teaching in their classes. There are certain environmental issues we need to be aware of and we can show this is how we're addressing it and this is, based on our example, how other industries could follow our lead."

On what the University does well and where it could better reach its environmental goals

"The AWESB we work in here has been designed with LEED standards in mind, so that's one way we've increased the "greenness" of the University. There is a lot of recycling throughout campus as well. I think one of the other initiatives we might want to take into account is water use on campus, things to do with outside irrigation and also with indoor water use.
Water use is one major way the university can look at adding to its environmental sustainability."