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Diversity & Inclusion

CMYK: C70 M0 Y36 K0

Sustainability

Strategic Initiatives for Racial Justice

Responsible Cabinet Member: Amanda King, Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Sustainability   

2021-22 Commitments

Focus on Anti-Racism in Sustainability and Climate Action Plan Implementation 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Office of Sustainability led a sustainability strategic planning effort to update the university’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The process focused on broad engagement of the campus community in ideation and goal setting for Bentley’s sustainable future. A key criterion for this work was that every goal, strategy or tactic identified in the process had to be reviewed for its impact on diversity, equity and inclusion with a focus on anti-racism. This focus will continue through implementation of the plan which will begin during the 2021-2022 academic year. Detailed implementation plans for each focus area will be created with diversity, equity and inclusion in mind and carefully reviewed to ensure a focus on antiracism strategies. 

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement Project 

The Office of Sustainability will partner with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Center to spend the fall 2021 semester exploring the possibilities of an official Indigenous Land Acknowledgement for Bentley University. 

DEI trainings for Office Staff and Student Leaders 

The Office of Sustainability will coordinate two diversity, equity and inclusion trainings for office staff and students in the Sustainability Student Leadership program. The training will include environmental justice and anti-racism education. Student Sustainability Leaders will work closely with Office of Sustainability staff to incorporate environmental justice programming and initiatives into the office’s campus education and engagement work. 

2020-21 Commitments

Continue to Develop our Social Justice Internship 

In June, the Office of Sustainability created a new social justice intern position. This intern will be a part of the office’s Student Sustainability Leadership Program and will assist Office of Sustainability staff in investigating the office’s practices, programs and campus sustainability policies to identify actions needed to make Bentley’s sustainability programs actively anti-racist. 

Update (11-29-21): The Office of Sustainability completed a successful year of integrating and institutionalizing the Social Justice Coordinator into the Student Sustainability Leadership program.  

The Social Justice Coordinator’s main accomplishments in the position this year were: (1) working with the Office of Sustainability to improve equity in the student leader hiring process, (2) creating a “Crash Course on Environmental Racism” and presenting it to the Bentley community and (3) consulting the office on all social media posts to ensure intersectionality of racial justice was properly communicated.   

Develop a Strategic Plan for Sustainability that Includes a Focus on Anti-Racism

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Office of Sustainability will lead a sustainability strategic planning effort to update the university’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. The process will focus on broad engagement of the campus community in ideation and goal setting for Bentley’s sustainable future. A sustainable future is not complete if it does not also create an equitable one, so a key criterion for this work will be that every goal, strategy or tactic identified in the process must be reviewed for its impact on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion with a focus on anti-racism. 

Update (11-29-21): During the spring trimester, the Office of Sustainability convened over 60 faculty, staff, and students to serve on four focus area committees to develop five year sustainability goals for the university. Further, the office engaged over 150 faculty, staff, students, and alumni to provide input and feedback to the plan’s draft goals. All goals were reviewed in committee for their impact on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Additional analysis was conducted on the goals using the “5 Ps Equity and Empowerment Lens” As the Office of Sustainability works on implementation plans, the goals, strategies and actions will continue to be reviewed for their impact on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.   

Create Programming focused on Environmental Racism 

The Office of Sustainability is updating all Student Sustainability Leadership training to include environmental justice and anti-racism education. Student sustainability leaders will work closely with Office of Sustainability staff to incorporate environmental justice programming and initiatives into the office’s campus education and engagement work. This fall, programming will be focused on environmental racism.

Update (11-29-21): Beginning in the fall of 2021, the Office of Sustainability will require all Student Sustainability Leaders to attend two anti-racism trainings.

Over the past year, the Student Sustainability Leaders worked to incorporate the intersectionality of racial justice and sustainability into the office’s education and engagement programming. Notable highlights include: (1) A week-long immersive educational program on environmental racism held in the Student Center, where attendees were able to learn about various aspects of environmental racism through signage and art installations throughout the building,  , (2) A program designed to celebrate the university’s 70% carbon footprint reduction, while engaging students in discussions of how Bentley should address climate change and climate justice by 2025 and (3) Online educational engagement through Instagram posts including the history of environmental racism and environmental justice.

Office of Sustainability Statement on Racial Justice