Sustainability Office Antiracism & Intersectionality Commitment

Updated November 10, 2021 (originally published February 8, 2021)

The environmental movement is greatly indebted to communities that it has historically excluded: Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income communities, who also bear the brunt of the climate crisis. As defined by The Intersectional Environmentalist, intersectional environmentalism "advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustice is happening to marginalized communities and the destruction of the Earth are connected. It brings injustices perpetrated against the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality."

The Wesleyan Sustainability Office recognizes the urgency of intersectionality within our work. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Black community, as well as with marginalized students of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. Sustainability is not possible without justice and equity. 

We acknowledge our historical inaction concerning equity and set forth the following commitments to this work:
  • Collaborate with and educate the Wesleyan and Middletown communities about the interdependence of racial and environmental justice
    • Organizing, supporting, publicizing, and attending intersectional events and conversations run by BIPOC and FGLI members of our community, such as student groups, the Resource Center, and Middletown residents.
    • Integrating a land acknowledgement into all office-sponsored campus events.
    • Advocating for the hiring of environmental justice-focused professors, the creation of environmental justice-focused courses, and the continued expansion of the Sustainability & Environmental Justice Course Cluster. 
    • Hosting and supporting events which examine the ties between environmentalism and white supremacy.
    • Including BIPOC and FGLI students and speakers in programming.
  • Dismantle barriers that exclude marginalized communities from the sustainability movement
    • Taking responsibility for instances of past or present harm from our actions by pursuing restorative action appropriate to the circumstance.
    • Soliciting anonymous feedback from Office staff and partners to better support equity, outreach, and intersectionality.
    • Ensuring that all Office staff application materials, recruitment and hiring processes integrate antiracist language and address internalized barriers that prevent BIPOC individuals from applying to work in the Office.
    • Integrating environmental and racial justice into Wesleyan’s sustainability plans.
    • Reviewing and revising this commitment and the Office mission statement each year.

We welcome feedback from the Wesleyan community on our efforts to promote equity and inclusion via this form.