Office of Sustainability

University of Mississippi

This model of sustainability was adapted from the original model developed by Bemidji State University’s Office of Sustainability.

What is Sustainability?

Definition of Sustainability

Sustainability is a multi-disciplinary, problem-solving approach to creating a social system that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations or the needs of the ecological systems in which humans exist.

By fostering education that encourages responsible and equitable management of our environmental, social and economic resources, the sustainability framework challenges our university to consider the interdependent nature of our lives, the natural environment, our communities and the economy and especially the improvement of these relationships.

This definition was researched and written by Jillian Cowart and Kendall McDonald as a part of their 2015 research thesis. 

Mission & Goals

“The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to be a catalyst for environmentally positive change by educating, connecting, and empowering the members of our community for the well-being of people and our ecological systems.”

To support its mission, the Office of Sustainability has constructed the following goals by which to measure its programming:
1. Foster change at the institutional level
2. Influence individual behavior and create a shared sustainability language 3. Understand and communicate sustainability indicators
4. Support leadership capacity and create co-curricular learning opportunities
5. Impact direct change and innovation
6. Diffuse sustainability into academic curriculum
7. Expand partnerships into the community



The Office of Sustainability was established in July 2008 after Chancellor Emeritus Robert Khayat signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. By signing this commitment, Dr. Khayat publicly recognized the University’s commitment to the environment and sustainability. Chancellor Emeritus Dan Jones re-signed the President’s Climate Commitment in April 2014, committing to further the University’s efforts to combat global climate change. The university is now a signatory institution in the national Climate Leadership Network.