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Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2011

Strategic Plan Includes Sustainability at a High Level
Over the past decades, Santa Clara's strategic plans have played a key role in the University's success. All strategic plans are rooted in the Jesuit tradition for academic excellence, along with important values and ethics at that point in time. The previous plan, adopted in 2001, addressed environmental sustainability, but the 2011 Strategic Plan is the first to make Sustainability, along with social justice a University goal and priority.

The University's understanding of sustainability focuses on the triple-bottom line: environmental protection, economic development, and social development. The 2011 plan stresses the importance sustainability as a multidisciplinary topic, one that "can be illuminated by all fields and perspectives."

Santa Clara's commitment to sustainability sets it apart from other institutions of higher education. The 2011 strategic plan aims to build on the already impressive list of initiatives.

In order to advance justice and sustainability Santa Clara will strive to:

  1. Increase and enhance curricular and co-curricular learning specific to sustainability and justice.
  2. Develop a distinctive and substantial research focus on justice and sustainability.
  3. Model how a Jesuit university can contribute to sustainability and justice through its service, operations, and outreach.

Along with Sustainability and Justice, the other University goals set forth in the 2011 strategic plan include Excellence in Jesuit Education, Engagement with Silicon Valley, Global Understanding and Engagement, and Academic Community.

Event Recap: Pesticide Poisoning Among Farmworkers
On Wednesday, February 16th, the Food and Agribusiness Institute continued its Food for Thought Speaker Series with a presentation about pesticide poisoning among farmworkers. Michael Marsh, an attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), shared his experience working with agricultural laborers throughout the state. Marsh addressed a variety of issues, such as fair wages, sexual harassment, and hazards in the workplace, but highlighted the prevalence of pesticide poisoning faced by laborers on conventional farms. He presented statistics on pesticide use throughout the state (8 million pounds of pesticides were used in Monterey County alone in 2009), and then shared some of the workers' reports of their symptoms.

Marsh explained the red tape and institutional roadblocks that prevent organizations like his from truly being able to affect broad change. For example, county agricultural boards refuse to look at the medical records of the affected workers solely on the basis that they are not doctors. He also pointed out the oversimplification with which these boards treat pesticides: instead of acknowledging the magnified synergistic health effects of more than one pesticide, they instead treat each pesticide as an isolated case, thus responding insufficiently to the true problems created by these chemicals.

Marsh ended his presentation by encouraging the audience to buy organic produce and support the organic movement overall--not only for our own health, but mostly for the health of the farmworkers who grow the produce. He emphasized the need for transparency, more monitoring and enforcement, and a defined standard of pesticide poisoning.

For more information about the Food and Agribusiness Institute and its upcoming events, visit

AASHE Accepting Student Nominations for Board of Directors
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is accepting nominations for undergraduate representatives to hold a position on the organization's Board of Directors. AASHE's Board of Directors meets at least once a year, with bi-monthly phone meetings. Also, each member is expected to participate in at least one board committee.

This is a great learning experience for any dedicated undergraduate. The closing date for nominations is March 15. Nominate a student and learn more information.

Sierra Club's Best Internship on Earth
Students: Love the outdoors? Want to spend your summer hiking, rafting, and camping around the country? Apply for the Sierra Club's Best Internship on Earth. The internship is based at the Sierra Club's international headquarters in San Francisco, but the intern won't be working in a cubicle. The summer intern will travel the country with Sierra Club's youth programs creating a video blog along the way. Not only are all travel expenses covered, but the intern will receive $2000 worth of gear from The North Face and Planet Explore, plus a $2500 stipend.

Manuscript Submissions Accepted by Sustainability: The Journal of Record
Faculty and Students: Do you have research or term papers worthy of publication? Submit your work to Sustainability: The Journal of Record, the premier journal and central forum on sustainability research, programs, news and trends in higher education and in the corporate sector. Articles are peer reviewed and published in a timely fashion. Sustainability will take pieces regarding initiatives in government and non-profits, policy development to sustainable products, food and agriculture along with a wide range of other topics. Information about manuscript submission and a free online sample issue.

Tags: News



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