News | January 14, 2022

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New book trains critical eye on FGCU’s sustainability efforts

It took 69 authors, three editors, three years to write and 18 months to publish, but “Making the Sustainable University: Trials and Tribulations” (Springer Nature Singapore, $149.99, hardcover; $109, eBook) is now available, all 310 pages of it.

The book tells the story of the creation of Florida Gulf Coast University and the intentional way in which it was created as a sustainable institution.

It is not a puff piece.

PHoto shows book cover“It grew out of a conversation we had in which we were eager to talk about not just the triumphs but also recognize our shortcomings,” said Sim Komisar, Ph.D., an associate professor, program director for environmental engineering and one of the book’s editors. “We wanted to create a road map to change the future.”

Contributors include students, staff, faculty, community members and administrators. They explore the institution’s creation, employee training, developing the University Colloquium course, creating the campus as a living laboratory, the role of the Food Forest, how to sustain a philosophy of sustainability and much, much more.

As President Mike Martin said in the introduction, “At FGCU, we know that sustainability is a dynamic concept. It is a journey with mile marks but not a fixed destination.”

Win Everham, Ph.D., professor of environmental studies and one of the book’s editors, said it was a challenge but “in the end, it was a satisfying project. I’m really proud of how it turned out. We hope the lessons we learned will be valuable to others.”

Katie Leone, the third book editor, former FGCU sustainability coordinator and now director of corporate social responsibility for Hertz, said there was a mix of feelings about how the university turned out but, in the end, “I think the book is really balanced when it comes to evaluating FGCU’s vision and practices.”

Komisar wants to take it up a notch in coming years: “In the next two decades, we need to raise sustainability to the cabinet level. A vice president of sustainability would help.”

MEET THE AUTHORS

A celebration of the book will take place Saturday, Feb. 12, during FGCU Day. Details