Meaning of Sustainability & Our Mission
What is Sustainability? The most often quoted definition comes from the World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability is a holistic approach that considers ecological, social and economic dimensions, recognizing that all must be considered together to find lasting prosperity.
Our Mission: The Oregon Tech Sustainability Committee serves as the coordinating body for the university’s activities relating to sustainability. We address ways to imbue the theme of sustainability throughout Oregon Tech in meaningful and visible ways.
Current Committee Members - 2022
Lloyd Parratt Natural Sciences, Chair
Michael Healy Computer Systems Eng. Tech.
Sean St. Clair Civil Engineering
David Culler Manuf./Mech. Eng. Tech.
Leah Jolly Medical Imaging Technology
Christy VanRooyen Natural Sciences
Slobodan Petrovic Elec. Renew. Energy Eng.
Joanna Mott Academic Affairs Director
Thom Darrah Facilities Management Services
Mira Wonderwheel University Development
Maria Depuy Business Affairs
Theodor Giles Student Representative
Kate Hicks Student Representative
Tyler Rhoades Student Representative
Climate Neutral by 2050
Oregon Tech will be climate neutral by the year 2050. This will be accomplished through a combination of energy conservation, improved building design, the purchase of carbon offsets, and the construction of twin "large" and “small” geothermal power plants. Other initiatives include:
Training graduates in sustainable technology, design, and practices:
Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (life cycle analysis and lean manufacturing)
Renewable Energy Engineering (harnessing energy from renewable resources)
Civil Engineering (environmental design and LEED building design)
Environmental Sciences (watershed sciences, geographic information systems, and sustainable technologies emphasis areas)
The Oregon Tech Arboretum is operated by the Klamath Tree League in cooperation with Oregon Tech and includes trees from around the world. The Oregon Tech bee hives and the air quality monitoring station are located adjacent to the Arboretum.
Native Plant Gardens and Xeriscaping
These gardens feature indigenous plant life and xeriscaped landscaping techniques (requiring little or no irrigation). They are located on the Oregon Tech campus, were designed by Civil Engineering students, and are maintained by the Sustainability Committee. The garden areas serve as a test plot for the adaptability and robustness of native plant species and collectively serve as a teaching garden for the community. Oregon Tech also has a small on-campus wetland.
Encouraging Alternative Transportation
Oregon Tech encourages alternative transportation use for community members. There are bus pass discounts for students, faculty and staff to encourage the use of mass transports. There is also an electric car plug-in station conveniently located in one of the parking lots. The campus gets involved with the annual Bike-To-Work day in May.
Groups directly involved in community sustainability efforts include:
The Sustainability Committee which is made up of faculty, students, staff, and community members
The Student Sustainability Club
Engineers without Borders
The Student Sustainability Internship Program, active at both campus locations
Simpler and more sustainable lifestyle enveloping a smaller-than-conventional carbon footprint.
The Oregon Tech Tiny House Movement initiative continues to take shape. This is a student-led cross disciplinary effort meant to bring awareness to sustainable lifestyles by downsizing living spaces to several hundred square feet, as opposed to the typical home footprint in the U.S. of around 2,500 square feet.