Blumenauer Introduces the Higher Education Sustainability Act

Bill Establishes Program to Support, Develop & Implement Sustainability Programs & Practices

Washington, DC – Today Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) and Congressman Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) introduced the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007, H.R. 3637, which would authorize a $50 million competitive grant program to universities and institutions of higher education to develop, implement and evaluate sustainability curriculums, practices and academic programs. The bill would amend Title VII of the Higher Education Act.  

"The impact of the world's growing population on the environment makes it vital to invest now in sustainable practices, and this starts with training the next generation of scientists, engineers, planners and business professionals to lead the way," said Congressman Blumenauer. "By providing grants to universities and institutions to develop sustainability programs, we not only protect the planet, but we also help maintain America's economic competitiveness. 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs want sustainable development to become part of their mission, and the Higher Educations Sustainability Act is an opportunity to meet this need, protect our planet, and ensure that the American economy is well-equipped for the 21st century."

The Higher Education Sustainability Act promotes multidisciplinary education, research, and outreach programs that address environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. It ensures that programs and practices developed under the name of sustainability are high caliber and directly address national needs.

"Teaching students about sustainable practices will help ensure that sustainable concepts will be applied in the lives of future generations," said Congressman Ehlers. "What better way to promote sustainability than to encourage our institutions of higher learning to create academic programs to teach its concepts, and to implement sustainable practices themselves. Society will reap the benefits of the excellent return on investment gained by educating students in sustainable practices."

The legislation encourages partnerships with external stake-holders such as non-profits, business alliances and trade associations for developing best practices, engaging students in real-world experiences, and ensuring that sustainability programs remain current. The legislation also establishes a national Higher Education Summit on Sustainability to highlight programs and practices of national distinction and identify partnership opportunities for the Federal Government.

For Immediate Release                       
Contact: Erin Allweiss (202) 225-4811
September 25, 2007