Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student

Letter to the Editor

On Strategic Planning and Sustainability


With President Gonzalez’s arrival, the College is embarking on a strategic planning process to help chart our course in the coming years. As a result, the Strategic Planning Committee has invited students to a series of meetings to help guide our community’s long-term trajectory.

It is critical that students at these meetings voice concern for sustainability and call upon the school to play an active role in environmental responsibility.  The College’s Honor Code reads, “To maintain and improve the condition of our physical environment, we commit ourselves to the respectful and prudent stewardship of our community’s material and natural resources.” As an institution with a reputation for elevating social justice concerns, sustainability and the environment should be at the front of everybody’s minds.

With the fate of international climate agreements like the Paris Accord and domestic efforts to protect clean air, water, and soil unclear in the current political climate, it is incumbent upon institutions like K to take greater responsibility for the environment. By educating students to engage with theoretical environmental issues in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and by providing students with opportunities to incorporate that knowledge into everyday practices and policies, K and other liberal arts institutions have the capacity to shape ongoing conversations about what it means to be prudent stewards of our environment.

But this requires ongoing institutional commitment to not only teach these issues but also to consider them in the college’s long-term development. During the strategic planning process, it is crucial that students advocate for sustainability across a wide range of disciplines and initiatives, including curriculum and research, facilities and grounds, and personnel and staff. In order to elevate these concerns to the forefront of the process, students concerned about the environment have to show up. It is not enough to sit passively on the sidelines and have faith that these concerns will be worked into the plans; the Strategic Planning Committee needs to hear your voice and your concerns. If you feel strongly about the college’s commitment to sustainability and the development of environmental initiatives and projects here on campus, please consider attending one of their meetings (dates, times, and locations listed below). I hope to see you there.


Natalie Thompson K’19

Tuesday, May 2: 4:15 – 5:45pm and 7:30 – 9:00pm in Hoben Lounge

Saturday, May 6: 1 – 2:30pm in Hoben Lounge

Wednesday, May 10: 7:30 – 9:00pm in the Hicks Banquet Room

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On Strategic Planning and Sustainability