Sustainability 3.0: Money, Justice, Environment

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The greener, granola-ier images of “sustainability” have been around awhile. Why, as far back as 1990, yours truly wrote a recycling column called “Talkin’ Trash.” So clever.

Time has mercifully moved on.

Jeff Mittlestadt ’99

Now leading the sustainability charge at Davidson is Jeff Mittelstadt ’99, who returns to alma mater as the college’s first, full-time director of sustainability. A triple threat with masters’ degrees in environmental management (Duke), in business administration (UNC Chapel Hill) and in journalism and mass communications (UNC Chapel Hill), Mittelstadt likewise takes a three-pronged view of sustainability circa 2013.

“It’s a triple bottom line,” he says, “of economic prosperity, social justice, environmental integrity. It’s about not just how they conflict but how they can drive each other.”

He’s calendared a trifecta of events to begin drawing out for students, faculty and staff the finer points of sustainability and vital place of those points in the life of the campus—and far beyond into the world of careers and life in general.

Tuesday, Jan. 22—Bullish on Sustainability, Sprinkle Room 3:30-5:00 p.m. “Are you interested in making money? Are you interested in business? Have you thought about sustainability as a strategy for investment and profit? Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this event to learn about financial profitability/economic prosperity as one of the three pillars of sustainability. Sustainability is often described as the Triple Bottom Line, which refers to financial profitability/economic prosperity, environmental integrity and social equity. This workshop will begin with discussion of a few case studies about making money through sustainability and the role financial profitability can play in sustainability. Investment, entrepreneurship and business strategy will be summarized with respect to their roles in sustainability. Then attendees will create strategies for a case study based on economic, environmental and social conditions in Mecklenburg County. The workshop will end with discussion of opportunities for financial profitability/economic prosperity within the sustainability context of the case study. Then, there will be a summary of unique opportunities for business and sustainability in the Charlotte area and throughout North Carolina.”

Wednesday, Jan. 23—Social Equity: Pillar of Sustainability, Multicultural House, 3:30–5:00 p.m. “This is an interactive workshop for students, faculty and staff to learn about the social pillar of sustainability through active engagement in case studies and connection to local opportunities. Are you interested in social equity? Did you know it is one of the three pillars of sustainability? Come to this event to learn more about how sustainability provides a framework to address social equity issues. You will also learn about how social equity is a pillar and a driver for sustainability. This workshop will include case studies that provide a glimpse of this component of sustainability, will provide an overview of ways to measure social impact and sustainability, discuss the transdisciplinary nature of these topics (how policy, culture, economics, government, policy, education, health, environment, non-profits, for-profits come together), and present opportunities for students, faculty and staff to get involved in the social aspects of sustainability through multiple centers, departments and divisions at Davidson College and with our community.”

Contact Jeff for more info at jemittelstadt[at]

“I’m staying extremely busy,” he says, clearly happy to be home. Mittelstadt counts Davidson as the first place he truly felt was his own home, after moving around a lot growing up. He’s helping flesh out his new job description as he goes along, and is grateful for the skills he gained in his degree work. He remains most grateful for the solid foundation of his Davidson education, and the chance to put that to use with the current and continuously refreshing crop of students. “How you communicate and analyze information is really important, and I know how Davidson students develop their critical thinking and communication skills in all the liberal arts disciplines.”

Finally, for the third event, come meet Jeff:

• Wednesday, Feb. 06—Sustainability 2013 Launch Event, C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, 3:00–6:00 p.m. “This is an open house for students, faculty and staff to learn about how sustainability relates to your interests. FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES. Are you interested in social equity? Economics or business? The environment? Did you know these are the three pillars of sustainability? Come to this event to learn more about how sustainability is related to your interests and can be a helpful tool for reaching your goals on campus, in the classroom and in the community. Find out what is happening in sustainability at Davidson College and how you can become involved. Many campus organizations and interests will have displays and tables illustrating opportunities and current projects. See you there! [FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES.] If you would like to have a table/display at this event or if you want more information, please e-mail the organizer at the address above.”


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