Friends of the Office of Sustainability,
Our Office staff have been wrestling with where to begin to address the deaths of George Floyd, Michael Ramos, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others just in the last few days that are sparking the overdue civil rights movement happening in front of us even as we celebrate Juneteenth.
As we follow Interim President Jay Hartzell’s call to reflect on the meaning of Juneteenth, we know we must also begin steps toward action. We have always believed social equity goals are as central to sustainability as environmental goals, and we recognize we need to do better in enhancing and prioritizing equity and justice as we continue to pursue environmental objectives.
We have a long way to go, but we offer these thoughts as a beginning in our commitment to listen, learn, and support our campus community and beyond in creating a more environmentally and racially just world:
- The Office of Sustainability stands with the black community and everyone fighting for racial and environmental justice.
- We are listening to the leadership of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and others for how we can support “an equitable, inclusive, and just institution in which violence, hate, and intolerance are not accepted and are actively combatted.”
- We are dedicated to our role in modeling the values of the Financial and Administrative Services portfolio, and the newly established FAS Diversity Committee.
- Student voices were prioritizing environmental and equity issues long before our Office existed. Students continue to step up and drive action, including the Campus Environmental Center’s Environmental Justice Collective formed last year. We will continue supporting their efforts and advocacy.
- As we reflect on how we conduct our work, we welcome your feedback on how our day to day campus sustainability conversations and actions either positively or negatively impact diversity, equity, and inclusion at UT Austin.
Wear a mask, stay healthy, see you soon,
Office of Sustainability team