Sustainability Commission at ESU pushes for environmentally friendly practices


For The Stroud Courier

Though not known to everyone at East Stroudsburg University, sustainability has been part of the University’s strategy for success for many years.

In fact, as early as 2008 President Dillman had accepted sustainability as a key part of ESU’s future and along with Provost Borland, he established the President’s Commission on Sustainability.

The purposes of the newly founded commission was to bring environmental sustainability into the mainstream and, according to the university’s website, to “inspire our constituents towards achieving climate neutrality through education, exposure to green values and attitudes, and most of all conscientious action.”

The Sustainability Commission was directed to develop a strategic plan that would introduce sustainability to our University, and establish implementation strategies that would incorporate sustainable practices into our on-campus culture and each of ESU’s curriculums.

Sustainability at ESU is equally important today and has the full support of our leadership; however, members of the commission have realized that it is not widespread as it should be.

To improve on this, the Commission is looking to capture the imagination of our student population by refocusing our attention on the importance of this topic and to engage students in sustainable practices.

When asked about environmental sustainability ESU President Marcia Welsh, who advises the commission but does not lead it, noted that her objective was to embed sustainability in all actions conducted at ESU.

Specifically she stated that she “hoped the goal of the ESU Sustainability Commission will be to work to have sustainability become a part of the ESU culture…of who we are, and what we do as a community.”

Further, she said that it should not be a special “project” or a fad, but a constant part of who we are and how we see our future.

ESU’s Sustainability Commission is currently chaired by Professor Darlene Farris-LaBar, a noted member or the university’s Art Department.

She has led the Commission for the past eighteen months and remains committed to the idea that “students should be leading crusaders for clean energy, recycling, water quality, food quality, global health, and much more. Their future, and that of future generations to come, will be greatly impacted by how we manage the planet.”

Both a community advocate and Environmental Artist, Professor Farris-LaBar readily promotes her belief that the Sustainability Commission will continue to lead the university towards an exploration of new and innovative ideas that are integrated into daily university life and work to carry out and promote sustainability initiatives.

In response to what she would like to see, the chairman said, “I hope that more students who want to make a difference in the world become involved in the Sustainability Commission and the committees associated with the commission, such as the committees on Recycling, Transportation, Carbon Footprint, Green Outreach, and the Go Green Committee. After all, since environmental stewardship is listed as one of the university values, it needs to be a major component of campus life.”

The Sustainability Commission and its committees are comprised of students, faculty, and staff as well as individuals from our surrounding community.

Regarding environmental sustainability, President Welsh said, “Students hold a passion for our future, and the energy to get others involved.  The future is in their hands…they need to be vocal, and involved!”

Chairman Farris-LaBar believes that sustainability helps establish the ways humans and nature can maintain a healthy balance for an all-around productive society that continues to fulfill the social, economic, and environmental needs for current and future generations to thrive.

For information on how to get involved check out the Commissions webpage on the ESU website, and contact Professor Darlene Farris-LaBar at

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