Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) 

Wesleyan University is committed to building a sustainable planet. Climate change and a rapidly changing world provide us with the impetus to take greater steps toward a sustainable future.  We seek to be an institution on the forefront of sustainable change, one that promotes environmental and social sustainability in everything that we do.  Sustainability is not an end goal, but an ongoing process. 

Wesleyan adopted the Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) in May 2022, which builds on the lessons learned from the 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP). The SSP builds a roadmap toward a sustainable future by establishing broad goals and objectives over the coming decades in the areas of carbon neutrality, curricular integration, and engagement of our Wesleyan and Middletown communities.

Just released - SSP 1st Annual Report!

We are proud to share the progress made in the first year since the 2022 implementation of the Sustainability Strategic Plan! An accessible version of this document can be found here


Goal 1: Wesleyan shall achieve carbon neutrality for all greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

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    Why: Buildings account for 75-80% of Wesleyan’s carbon footprint

    How: We'll need to expand conservation and efficiency efforts, convert our underground energy delivery system from steam to hot water, and convert all buildings to run on renewable energy. Read more in our Utilities Carbon Neutrality Master Plan.

    Contact: Andrew Plotkin, Facilities

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    Why: Air travel has historically accounted for 15-20% of Wesleyan’s carbon footprint

    How: Offsets are a way of storing carbon or preventing carbon emissions. We're funding these through a fee added to employee air travel purchases and are exploring opportunities to reduce air travel in favor of virtual and ground transportation alternatives.

    Contact: Jen Kleindienst, Sustainability Office

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    Why: While the campus fleet accounts for less than 5% of Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, transportation emissions as a whole account for nearly 40% of CT emissions

    How: We are currently aiming to convert 50% of light-duty vehicles in the campus fleet to electric vehicles and will expand to other vehicle types as vehicles become available.

    Contact: Jeff Murphy, Facilities

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    Why: While commuting accounts for less than 5% of Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, transportation emissions as a whole account for nearly 40% of CT emissions

    How: We'll do this through promoting working from home, publicizing transit, facilitating carpooling, strengthening walking and biking infrastructure, and expanding electric vehicle charging.  


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    Why: To reach carbon neutrality, some emissions will be unavoidable and will require offset purchases

    How: Offsets are a way of storing carbon or preventing carbon emissions. We will not purchase non-air travel offsets until we near our carbon neutrality target, prioritizing instead emissions reduction.

    Contact: Jen Kleindienst, Sustainability Office

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    Why: By divesting from fossil fuels, Wesleyan can cchallenge the power of the fossil fuel industry, the primary driver of climate change, and encourage a shift to a clean energy economy

    How: Wesleyan expects to divest from all direct fossil fuel investments by 2035 and will continue to explore investments in renewable energy and in businesses that work to address climate change and promote sustainability.

    Contact: Brett Salafia, Investments


Goal 2: Wesleyan’s curricular and co-curricular activities equip students with the necessary education and skills to become environmental and social leaders. By 2030 approximately 80% of the student body will have taken at least one course, workshop, or research experience that incorporates sustainability and environmental justice. 

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    Why: To make sustainability and environmental justice accessible to all students regardless of major

    How: We will expand supports for faculty, including training on sustainability and environmental justice and meetings to discuss best practices in course integration.

    Contact: Elan Abrell, Assistant Professor of the Practice in ENVS, SISP, CIS; Coordinator, Sustainability and Environmental Justice

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    Why: Regular course offerings in environmental justice can introduce more students to the justice contexts of environmental issues such as climate change

    How: The College of the Environment will hire a faculty member to teach consistent environmental justice courses through a 5-year grant.

    Contact: Barry Chernoff, College of the Environment

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    Why: Students looking to pursue summer or post-graduate work in sustainability and environmental justice fields need support

    How: This support will include career advising, increased job and internship postings, financial support for internships, and opportunities for students to connect with employers and alumni.  

    Contact: Ruthann Coyote, Gordon Career Center


Goal 3: Sustainability is an integral part of Wesleyan’s community consciousness, expressed through University practices as well as the individual and collective actions of students, faculty, and staff.

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    Why: The Wesleyan community needs to be aware of sustainability issues, efforts, and opportunities for involvement

    How: We will develop and expand continual education and outreach that acknowledges, listens to, and collaborates with marginalized members of our community. This will include increasing the presence of sustainability and environmental justice in extracurricular activities and programming and encouraging civic engagement on sustainability in the context of equity.

    Contact: Morgan Keller, International Student Services

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    Why: To reach collective sustainability and environmental justice goals, build a resilient community and strengthen town-gown relations

    How: We will listen to the needs of the diverse communities in Middletown; provide physical, financial, and intellectual resources to support sustainability and environmental justice at the local level, and institutionalize partnerships.

    Contact: Diana Martinez, Jewett Center for Community Partnerships

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    Why: We want our consumption and other physical impacts to reflect the values of prioritizing sustainability and justice 

    How: We will make physical changes in the areas of dining, purchasing, grounds, and waste to reduce our impact.


Sustainability Strategic Plan Committee Members

The following staff, faculty, and students shepherd the implementation of the Sustainability Strategic Plan.  Meetings are held 1-2 times each semester.  Please contact Jen Kleindienst with questions about the committee.

  • Current Members
    • Elan Abrell, Faculty at large (2023-present)
    • Olga Bookas, Purchasing (2023-present)
    • Dylan Campos, Sunrise Wesleyan (2023-present)
    • Barry Chernoff, College of the Environment (2021-present)
    • Ruthann Coyote, Gordon Career Center (2023-present)
    • Victor Diaz, Grounds (2023-present)
    • Debbra Goh, Student at large (2021-present)
    • Morgan Keller, Student Affairs (2023-present
    • Jen Kleindienst, Sustainability Office (chair, 2021-present)
    • Tamira Le, Sunrise Wesleyan (2023-present)
    • Judy Liu, Wesleyan Student Assembly (2023-present)
    • Diana Martinez, Allbritton (2021-present)
    • Jeff Murphy, Facilities (2023-present)
    • Michelle Myers-Brown, Dining (2023-present)
    • Andrew Plotkin, Facilities (2021-present)
    • Brett Salafia, Investments (2021-present)
    • Jeff Sweet, Facilities (2023-present)
  • Past Members
    • Lisa Brommer, Human Resources (2021-2023)
    • Sun Chyung, Finance (2021-2023)
    • Ruby Clarke, Wesleyan Student Assembly (2021-2023)
    • Tony Hatch, Faculty at large (2021-2023)
    • Mark Hovey, Academic Affairs (2021-2023)
    • Fran Koerting, Student Affairs (2021-2023)