Universities can play a central role in creating a more sustainable way of life, not only by nurturing innovators and educating the next generation in sustainability concepts and technologies, but also by modeling sustainable systems on campus.
Most of the universities we’ve talked with recognize this, and are taking meaningful steps in those areas. They often don’t communicate well about their efforts, however—we’ve reviewed quite a few campus sustainability sites in the course of our university work (for an example of that, see our Stanford project profile), and found many a poor stepchild or filing cabinet. We’ve also found some that do it right. In honor of graduation season, here are the hallmarks of excellent sustainability sites:
- Achievements are foremost
- School policies, goals, and strategy are front and center
- Reports and facts are easily accessed
- News is prominent and current
- Content is deep, with overviews for people who want the basics and details for those who want to dig in
- Organization is logical for external audiences
- There are easy ways to take action or access action info in top navigation
- Language is clear, direct, and free from jargon and insider terms
- Users are sent off the site as little as possible
Sites that hit these marks are most likely to engage the campus community and impress prospective students and faculty. We’ll address them in more detail in future posts.