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Development of a Sustainability Management Framework for The University of Michigan Housing Division

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This study provides a framework upon which to base management for ecological sustainability in the University of Michigan's Housing Division (Housing). The study presents mechanisms for organizational alignment with sustainability by assessing leading edge sustainable practices and their applicability, describing Housing's current environmental status, suggesting sustainability visions, recommending initiatives to move Housing toward sustainability, and proposing indicators to measure progress.

The study describes three reasons for organizational alignment with sustainability: morality and intergenerational equity, survival, and organizational benefits and risks. The study recommends modifying Housing's current mission and goals statements to support sustainability as well as creating a free-standing sustainability mission statement. The most comprehensive part of the study assesses five operational areas (energy and water, purchasing/design and material usage, waste, dining, and pest and grounds management) and six decision-making areas (auditing and goal-setting, staffing, training, finances, communication and integration) in Housing in terms of environmental impact (specific audit data is presented) and prospects for sustainable management. The report advocates long-term decision-making based on integrating sustainability into decision-making processes and setting sustainability goals and objectives.

The report concludes that sustainability management must be holistic, systemic and integrative.  Major recommendations include appointing a sustainability coordinating body, annually auditing for sustainability, training staff on sustainability, using full-cost accounting and life-cycle assessment as decision-making tools, creating an environmentally preferable procurement program, forming a sustainable dining services team, involving outside entities in sustainability efforts, developing partnerships for material reuse, and managing energy and water sustainably. Overall, the implementation of management for sustainability in Housing will require time, effort and commitment.

Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Publication Type
Master's Thesis
Full Citation
Shriberg, M. 1999. Development of a Sustainability Management Framework for the University of Michigan Housing Division. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor.