Book Reviews

Book by Bruce Jacobs and Jillian Kinzie
Review by Gerry Meenaghan
Counseling Department
Lane Community College

Of the many buzzwords circulating around college campuses today, which have had the greatest effect on your work and working environment in the past decade? With close to 1000 campuses now claiming membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and nearly 700 college presidents having signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment to zero out carbon emissions and increase climate literacy efforts, it would be safe to guess that anyone connected to higher education in the U.S. has been affected by the sustainability movement at some level (Newport, 2012). Sustainability is being incorporated into every aspect of campus life, from the institutional mission and strategic directions to student life, facilities, curriculum and instruction, and student services.

Enhancing Sustainability Campuswide (Jacobs & Kinzie, 2012) covers four main topics over seven chapters: The history and current status of sustainability in higher education in Chapter 1; 2) How sustainability is defined in Chapter 2; 3) How sustainability is being practiced campuswide in Chapters 3-6; and 4) How to organize a sustainability program in Chapter 7. Concise, at fewer than 100 pages, this book will be attractive to academic advisors who may be sensitive to the time commitment required for professional development activities. It is especially recommended to professional and faculty advisors in academic areas related to sustainability, environmental studies/science, economics, and ethnic studies, who may find that the book’s content helps them to better relate to their students’ interests and concerns, and generate ideas for student engagement on campus and in the community. Advisors who work on campus committees will also find that the survey of best practices on college campuses across the U.S. may generate ideas for initiatives on their own campuses. Lastly, advisors who have a personal interest and investment in sustainability may discover new applications and sustainable practices for the processes and procedures in their own departments and units.

One of the greatest “take-aways” from this book is a redefinition of the term “sustainability”. Edwards astutely observes that, “For many of us in higher education, sustainability is associated with environmentalism” (2012, p. 20). However, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) defines sustainability as “a balanced focus on the interrelated priorities of economic strength, social justice, and environmental health” (as cited in Kerr & Hart-Steffes, 2012, p. 9). This new definition that includes economic equity and social justice is so important, especially if the sustainability movement hopes to offset what Edwards calls, “the unbearable whiteness of being green” (p. A56). Inclusion of more students, staff, faculty, and administrators of color in the sustainability movement is an important goal that academic advisors can work toward.

References:

Edwards, K. E. (2012). Moving beyond green: Sustainable development toward healthy environments, social justice, and strong economies. In Jacobs, B. A., & Kinzie, J. (Eds.). (2012). Enhancing sustainability campuswide. New Directions for Student Services. 2012(137), pp. 7-17. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Jacobs, B. A., & Kinzie, J. (Eds.). (2012). Enhancing sustainability campuswide. New Directions for Student Services. 2012(137), pp. 1-102. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kerr, K. G., & Hart-Steffes, J. S. (2012). Sustainability, student affairs, and students. In Jacobs, B. A., & Kinzie, J. (Eds.). (2012). Enhancing sustainability campuswide. New Directions for Student Services. 2012(137), pp. 7-17. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Newport, D. (2012, April 6). Campus sustainability: It’s about people. The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. A56.


Enhancing Sustainability Campuswide: New Directions for Student Services. Number 137, Spring 2012 (2012)
Book by Bruce Jacobs and Jillian Kinzie (Eds.), Review by Gerry Meenaghan. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass
102 pp. $29 (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-1183-4580-1

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