The idea of an Environmental Statement of Principles was first discussed at the Green Network meeting in the winter and spring of 2000. The idea was brought to the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) as an idea for a project to be undertaken. The statement is a concrete way for the college to formally express its position on environmental sustainability and the college’s role within its communities. Carleton has been making great strides in its level of environmental stewardship in the last few years and this statement is a recognition and affirmation of that fact. The statement also serves to remind us of the ideals which we hope to live up to in the operations and daily life of the college and therefore also serves the critical role of acting as a guide for our current and future choices.
Fourth week of winter term CSA and the ENTS program co-sponsored an all campus forum to discuss the possibility and nature of an environmental statement of principles, although at the time it was referred to as an “Environmental Mission Statement.” The title of the statement was changed to reflect the fact that the college has purposefully never had any sort of mission statement. At the forum some rationale for creating a statement was given and a history of the process thus far was overviewed. Participants were asked to brainstorm ideas of what they would want the statement to include. Examples of similar statements from other schools and proposals generated by Carleton students were presented. These proposals were solicited from a wide range of groups, offices, and individuals. All proposals submitted for the forum were presented. After all the different examples were discussed, the relative merits of different language was argued resulting in a laundry list of sentences and phrases culled from the text or generated on the spot at the forum.
The results of the forum were reviewed by the EAC and were given to a task force with the directive of developing language to be presented to the EAC. Membership on this task force was open to the campus and many of the participants from the forum were involved in the creation of the final language. The language developed by the task force was presented to the campus for review and comment in 23 February issue of the Carletonian. Comments generated by the student body were considered by the EAC before it decide what language it would endorse. The EAC approved language on 12 April 2001. The statement as approved by the EAC was brought to the regular meeting of the Buildings and Budgets Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees where it was endorsed with only slight modification. When the statement was brought to the full Board of Trustees as having been endorsed by the subcommittee no objections were registered and the statement became college policy on 18 May 2001.