The College of Nursing(CON) has a mission to “improve health care of all people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the nation and the world though the development of qualified nurse leaders at all levels of practice, the development of nursing science, and the provision of nursing care to individuals, families and communities.” Ultimately, our College will contribute, through scholarship, academic excellence, and community outreach, to improve the quality of life for all people. With the social and environmental challenges of the Anthropocene that are outlined by the global Sustainable Development Goals, as well as several of Penn State University’s Strategic Plan thematic priorities and foundational values, the CON will prepare its graduates to contribute to solutions by having every graduate understand the relationship between human health and the environment.
The mission of the Sustainability Council is to advise the CON administration on ways to holistically integrate sustainability into the College’s teaching, research, operations, outreach and student activities in a manner that prepares nurses to be engaged leaders in their professional, personal and civic lives. This mission closely aligns and supports the University’s sustainability related thematic priorities, outlined in its 2016-2025 Strategic Plan, Our Commitment to Impact: ” to ensure a sustainable future, steward our planet’s resources, enhance health, and transform education. In addition, it supports the vision of our College to improve the quality of life for all people”.
We operate as a Council through transparency, inclusiveness, respect and through our definition of sustainability which is the simultaneous pursuit of human health and happiness, environmental quality, and economic well-being for current and future generations. The Council incorporates ones’ environment along with culture, race and human rights as a social responsibility. We also incorporate sustainability in the CON’s definition of health:
Health, which fluctuates throughout the life span, is a gestalt of wellness and illness, coexisting and interacting phenomena. The unitary person interacts with the totality of the environment, and the unique quality of this interaction influences one’s health. Health is a synthesis of dynamic patterns of energy within the individual and between the person and environment. Health patterns maintain themselves and manifest multiple configurations of individual and environmental relations. Health is self-perceived and relative to each person’s or group’s beliefs and values. Common approaches to the understanding of the phenomenon of health stem from theories of human development, stress, disease, adaptation, crisis, life style, change, and consciousness. Because health patterns are dynamic, the recognition, identification, and facilitation require periodic assessment.
Because our definition of health is understood in terms of sustainability, the CON is discovering new avenues for action for a sustainable world.
The Sustainability Council will assist the College in pursuing its mission through the following objectives:
- Assist the College in integrating sustainability into the unit’s strategic plan update for 2020 to 2025, scheduled for review in winter 2020.
- Propose ways to create a responsive organization that supports our strategic initiatives across the Campuses
- Guide the Green Team to launch initiatives that promote stewardship of material resources with representatives from multiple campuses and roles, especially students. This will be accomplished by:
- Continued administrative oversight of the Sustainability Service Project program
- Soliciting proposals for sustainability projects focused on natural resources (e.g., community gardens; management of waste/recycling; consumption of resources) that build student- faculty partnerships while meeting the health needs of a unique community
- Vetting project proposals through the Sustainability Green Team
- Funding at least two pilot projects to demonstrate proof of concept and feasibility
- Extending best practices (learned though pilot projects) to other campuses within the College of Nursing and the University
- Assessing the impact of the above funded sustainability projects and to create a plan that maintains the successes achieved in the pilot projects
- Strengthening liaisons with the Sustainability Institute to keep abreast of new initiatives and to maximize funding opportunities
- Organizing quarterly meetings of the Green Team to educate representatives regarding sustainability projects and to develop opportunities that enhance health through stewardship of natural resources
- Develop guidelines for integrating sustainability into the CON curriculum with a particular focus on undergraduate (at this time) curricular alignment with the SDGs.
- Suggest avenues for integrating sustainability into CON research
- Explore venues to share the College’s efforts that address sustainability
- Annually review the progress toward meeting the above objectives and provide a report to the CON community.
Approved October 29, 2019