Invitation for input on Provost's Environment Initiative

Dear University of Oregon community members,

We are writing to invite you to join us for an update on the Provost’s Environment Initiative, and to provide input and direction for this important endeavor at UO.

As you may know, we launched this effort last year with plans to engage the campus broadly as we moved forward. Adell Amos, Environment Initiative Director, is leading our efforts. She chaired the initiative’s steering committee last year and is now bringing the work of the committee to the broader campus community. We invite you to join in our efforts. 

The steering committee helped craft an open invitation and call to action for our campus. It reads:

We are in the midst of unprecedented and transformative environmental change. All of us, and especially our students, face dramatic ecological shifts to all our natural systems because of climate change. Moreover, this change drives related societal paradigm shifts in systems that govern our economy, the built environment, democracy, and fundamental relationships among people.

Facing this challenge requires us to generate new approaches, find proactive problem-solving pathways, engage in collaboration with multiple constituencies and social groups, participate in diverse ideas and forms of knowledge, and exert the full measure of our creative energy. This moment requires the amplification of voices that have often gone unheard bringing environmental racism and social justice to the forefront of the path that lies ahead.

Every discipline can contribute. The UO is well-positioned, given its long history of research, teaching, and public engagement, to bring a broad range of expertise to this moment – from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences, law, journalism, business, design, and education.

As a research university with the integrated mission to explore, teach, and serve, our engagement is critical to our public leadership in the state and the eco-region. How will our environmental research define and contribute to a livable and just future? How can we produce insights and knowledge that can be used and serve communities, their leaders, and larger components of civil society? What must our students know to live in this emerging world, and forge a better one?

As we engage and respond to this moment and imagine a university platform for supporting and growing our work, we offer the following guiding principles that will inform the workshops and provide the framework for thinking about the next steps.  We are excited about projects that are:

  • Multi-disciplinary and innovative in finding opportunities for research and teaching;
  • Policy-relevant, applied, translational work that is responsive to the call to action;
  • Rooted and focused on issues of equality, equity, and environmental justice that add and amplifying voices in the conversation;
  • Impactful to the state, eco-region, and beyond;
  • Tied to direct student outcomes, experiential learning, and new ways of thinking about professional pathways for a changing world; and
  • Contributing to the financial well-being of the future of the university for those impacted by and doing the work.

We invite you to join this conversation through one or more of the following options:

  • Environment Initiative Workshops – Please only sign up for one. If needed we can add additional dates and times.
  • Asynchronous Survey – Fill this out and let us know your thoughts.
  • Meetings organized at the department, school, or college level. Adell has reached out to each dean to begin setting up these meetings. You can email Noemi Sepe (nsepe@uoregon.edu) directly for details on existing meetings within academic units or to set a new one.

We look forward to hearing from you and moving to the next stage of our efforts to build a university-wide hub for this important work. Will you join us?

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Adell Amos
Environment Initiative Director