Texas A&M Unveils Unique Long-Term Sustainability Master Plan

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The Texas A&M athletics department has unveiled a unique sustainability master plan that the school says aims to "create a living strategic document that complements and serves as a guide for how the athletics department will support Texas A&M University in achieving the goals and actions set forth in its 2018 Campus Sustainability Master Plan for the next decade and beyond."

"Being the front porch and most visible entity on campus gives Athletics not only the opportunity, but also the responsibility to use our platform to support and elevate sustainability efforts within our department and across campus," Texas A&M athletics director Ross Bjork said in a statement. "12th Man Sustainability is 'Good Bull for the Game' as we lead in environmental and social opportunities for Aggies, Aggieland and beyond. It is crucial for us to operate with excellence in all that we do, and I am excited for the work we have done and will continue to do thanks to our Athletics Sustainability Master Plan." 

The plan focuses on goals for the short term (fiscal years 2023-27), medium term (fiscal years 2028-32) and long term (fiscal year 2033 and beyond). The efforts to advance the targets in the plan will be constantly evolving to keep current with the advances in science and technology. 

"Texas A&M Athletics has a dedicated Aggie fan base second to none," Texas A&M Chief External Affairs Officer and Senior Vice President for Academic and Strategic Collaborations Susan Ballabina, Ph.D. said. "With the creation of this Athletics Sustainability Master Plan, they have established a plan that supports the Campus Sustainability Master Plan and supplements their top-tier leadership on the field with a strategy that positions them to lead on the grand challenges of our time."  

The ASMP is organized based on four focus areas – physical environment, waste management, social sustainability and institutional efforts. These focus areas were established from the three pillars of sustainability – environment, social and economic. Sustainability at Texas A&M focuses on the connections between people, the economy and the environment; and how those connections work together to achieve long-term prosperity and continued quality of life.

Each focus area includes a number of themes that advance the progression of the plan. Some themes were adopted from the 2018 Campus Sustainability Master Plan while others were crafted specifically for the ASMP. Within each theme there are evergreen goals which are long-term milestones. They are visionary and designed to be aligned with the Texas A&M Athletics sustainability initiatives in perpetuity. 

The 12 themes in the Athletics Sustainability Master Plan include: zero waste; waste minimization; built environment and site design; energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; mobility and transportation; community engagement; student success; health and wellness; voice and influence; education, outreach and engagement; administrative support; and instruction and innovation. 

The key themes are broken down to evergreen goals (long-term), targets (short- and medium-term goals), metrics and measures. The plan includes proposed actions to pursue on the path toward achieving the targets, as well as identifying key players who will most influence the successful achievement of each target.

A task force of more than 50 staff members from the Texas A&M Athletics Sustainability Plan working group collaborated to research and develop the plan since June 2021 under the guidance of Lauren Lichterman, who is a collegiate sustainability engagement expert and lead author of the plan. Steering the collaborative effort were members of the Texas A&M Office of Sustainability, Texas A&M Utilities and Energy Services, and Texas A&M Kinesiology & Sport Management Department to offer the group invaluable leadership, knowledge and guidance.

"The power of sport, particularly collegiate sport, to do good things for people and planet, and create opportunities for others to follow in that journey is extremely special," Lichterman said. "Seeing Texas A&M Athletics champion this cause in such a concerted and transparent way is inspirational and should serve as a guide for how other athletics departments across the country can inspire and innovate as well."

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