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President's Letter on Sustainability

March 26, 2010

To the University Community:

I was honored to be installed Pacific's 24th President last week. In my inauguration speech, I called for a campus-wide commitment to sustainability. Following the lead of John Muir, the motivating force behind the American National Park system and the founder and first president of the Sierra Club, Pacific must embrace sustainable principles and practices.

Accordingly, I am pleased to designate March 25 - April 25 as Pacific's first Sustainability Month. Activities during the month will include a symposium celebrating John Muir's life and work, commemoration of the 40th Earth Day, and invited lectures by prominent experts. Pacific is delighted to welcome Michael Pollan, Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, and Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and author of the 2007 best seller Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.

The goal of Sustainability Month is to heighten awareness of sustainable practices and begin to develop within the Pacific community an understanding of the complex interrelationships between environmental, economic and social justice concerns. I encourage you to attend the John Muir Symposium on the Stockton campus and the educational presentations at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, and to participate in the dedication of the community garden at the McGeorge School of Law. For details on these activities and others, check the Sustainability Month calendar at http://web.pacific.edu/x29332.xml

Pacific is making progress in its approach to sustainability. Recent improvements include a Board of Regents resolution that all new construction will meet LEED Silver or equivalent standards, our participation in the nationwide "RecycleMania 2010" competition, and the endorsement of the University Sustainability Commitment Statement by the ASuop Senate, Staff Advisory Council, and Academic Council. For the first time last fall, all incoming students participated in MOVE: the Mountains, Ocean, Valley Experience. This unique encounter unites students, faculty, and staff in environmental and community service projects across Northern California, including the Sierra Nevada, the Pacific Coast, and the Central Valley. My family and I participated last fall in the Yosemite Valley, where we teamed with students to remove invasive blackberry bushes.

Many groups have partnered to present our first Sustainability Month: the President's Task Force on Sustainability, the John Muir Center, the ASuop Sustainability Coalition, the Pacific McGeorge Student Property and Land Use Club, the McGeorge Environmental Law Forum, the McGeorge Student Sustainability Committee, Residence for Earth & Environmental Living and Learning, Bon Appetit Dining Services, and the Students for Environmental Action. To add your group's name to this impressive list, please contact Jaiya Ellis, University Sustainability Coordinator (209-946-7367, jellis@pacific.edu).

It is going to take all of us, working together, to create a more sustainable Pacific. By doing so, we will satisfy a vital responsibility to the natural world and to one another, and we will serve as a model to our community and to other universities. I thank the President's Task Force on Sustainability for getting us started on the right path, and I thank you for joining us in these efforts. I look forward to celebrating Pacific Sustainability Month with you.

Sincerely,
Pamela A. Eibeck, Ph.D.

President