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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: The Office of Sustainability has added the social justice internship to its Student Sustainability Leadership program.

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: The office launched Bentley’s second Sustainability and Climate Action planning process on Jan. 27 with a Community Ideation Session. Students, faculty and staff attended the session to share their thoughts on the future of sustainability and climate action at Bentley. Key questions were: “What does your vision of sustainability and climate justice look like at Bentley in 2025?" and "What actions should we take to get there?” In the next stage of the process, committees will use justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as key criteria to screen the goals, strategies and tactics identified.

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: The Office of Sustainability held three educational events during the fall term focused on environmental racism: (1) an Instagram Live event where Bentley’s manager of sustainability interviewed the office’s social justice coordinator about issues of environmental racism; (2) a “Student Center Takeover” immersive learning experience where students, faculty and staff learned from art displays and signs about four different issues of environmental racism; and (3) a “Crash Course in Environmental Racism” taught by the office’s social justice coordinator.

Office of Sustainability Statement on Racial Justice