Update on the Environment Initiative

April 8, 2021

Dear University of Oregon Colleagues,

As we approach Earth Day —a day on which more than 1 billion people in nearly 200 countries across the globe celebrate environmentalism — we want to share a report on the Environment Initiative’s campus-wide engagement process, and offer some next steps for moving forward.

Several UO academic initiatives in a diverse set of areas have been developed and are moving forward at the university to draw on campus-wide strengths across multiple schools and colleges, amplifying years of effort by faculty and staff. They are not intended to supplant the excellent work going on within each individual school or college; rather, these initiatives represent opportunities to continue to expand our place in the broader world and fully embrace our role — and impact — as a major public research university.

In our last update on the Environment Initiative, we mentioned that Adell — as the initiative’s director — had started and led a broad engagement process open to all members of the campus community. Since then, she has developed a report that summarizes the findings and themes that have emerged. We invite you to read the report and reach out if you have more to share and contribute. The campus engagement process is, and will continue to be, an ongoing endeavor.

We also invite you to visit the new website for the Environment Initiative, here, and share this resource with others.

In the spring, to advance our institutional efforts to build a campus-wide Environment Initiative, we will:

  • Convene interested parties around each of the emerging themes of inquiry/research nodes to build out an action plan, and evaluate the needs and next steps. These workshops will seek to identify faculty, centers and programs, and researchers who are interested in participating. One of the goals will be to identify opportunities for new ways to engage in our research, teaching, and service opportunities to better leverage the contributions that the university can make to respond to the grand challenges that lie ahead. 
  • Appoint an EI advisory committee with membership from across the schools and colleges to help build a strategic action plan for our shared efforts, including work to design new academic programs, launch new and strategically grow existing research collaborations, and continue to identify ways amplify and promote our collective work on the environment, resilience, and sustainability.
  • Coordinate an official event and celebration to showcase our breadth and depth in this area, share our recent accomplishments, and launch our website and larger communication strategy.
  • Develop a strategy for seeking philanthropic support for our ongoing and new efforts in the Environment Initiative.

We are grateful and inspired by your energy, creativity, and engagement with the Environment Initiative to date. We are hopeful and committed to continuing this work in ways that are productive and imaginative. The work will be challenging and hard along the way, and we hope it will it will inspire us all about what is possible when we join forces to imagine a just and sustainable future.


Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Adell Amos, Clayton R. Hess Professor of Law
Environment Initiative Director for the Office of the Provost