Our Mission

As a core unit within the Institute of the Environment (IoE), the Office of Sustainability (OS) works with senior administrators, students, faculty and staff members to set and achieve strategic sustainability goals and actions across UConn's campuses. 

  • Lead - The OS leads development and execution of experiential learning and educational outreach and engagement programs to raise awareness and improve performance around sustainable practices and behaviors. We provide the University community with a focal point for dialogue on sustainability issues and lead execution of comprehensive sustainability reporting initiatives such as AASHE STARS and UI Green Metric.
  • Collaborate - The OS works proactively with stakeholders across the university and in the communities we serve to bring together knowledge and resources in tackling the most pressing sustainability issues facing society and the planet. We facilitate working groups, advise and participate on committees, and work to expand UConn's network of individuals passionate about the health of the planet and improving the lives of others.
  • Empower - The OS puts students first. Through its experiential learning programs and internships, it prepares students for successful graduate programs and careers as change agents in their fields of study and connects them with alumni and industry leaders to learn more about the wide range of employment opportunities related to sustainability. We advocate for change. The OS understands the disproportionate impacts that environmental racism and climate change has on society, and works to uplift underrepresented and historically marginalized groups toward supporting environmental justice.

UConn Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc, and Lenape Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.

Belonging, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (BEDI) Commitment

History of the OS

In September, 2002, the University of Connecticut created the position of Director of Environmental Policy in order to focus on certain environmental issues and opportunities. The University provided this Director with the authority to pursue environmental excellence in the areas of regulatory compliance, green building, and sustainability.

The Director's first steps were to manage the University's response to various DEEP enforcement actions and concerns about the capital improvements program - having direct authority over construction-related permits and Environmental Impact Evaluations (EIEs) required for large building projects. He also led a consensus-building process with key stakeholders, including state legislators and town residents, to revise UConn's Master Plan for the conservation and development of its 886-acre Agricultural Campus.

Along with these tasks and review, the Director took steps to form the Environmental Policy Advisory Council (EPAC) to the President. This 25+ member senior advisory group would become a vehicle to engage UConn students, faculty, administrators, and staff in a dialogue about environmental stewardship, sustainability and leadership across the university.

In 2019,  the Office of Environmental Policy (OEP) was reorganized into the Office of Sustainability (OS) and joined the newly formed Institute of the Environment (IoE) along with the Center for Environmental Sciences & Engineering, Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, and the Natural Resources Conservation Academy.

Learn more about our history in the infographic below!

What We’ve Learned

The development and growth of this position has led to many lessons on the potential successes in sustainability possible at a University campus, including:

  1. A senior level staff position reflects the University's commitment and sends a strong message to the campus community that environmental sustainability and compliance are core values of the institution
  2. A broad, multi-disciplinary organizational framework, such as UConn's environmental council, is necessary to achieve buy-in, develop consensus, and communicate with the broader community
  3. Student interns provide essential research and technical support services, particularly in the absence of full-time staff. Teamwork, and shared expertise and knowledge about how the university works are vital to the success of campus "greening" initiatives
  4. The campus setting, with its decentralized and diverse academic and staff departments, calls for a more flexible, consensus building and project approach to environmental management.
  5. Expect organizational change: Since the Director's appointment, UConn administration has been reorganized to separate the operational functions from the academic functions.
  6. Progress and change often occur slowly; not just because of the size and complexity of the university, but also the need to build environmental awareness, discuss issues, reach consensus, and implement programs that may be perceived as above and beyond the core functions (i.e. education and research).