Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles


The University of Wisconsin–Madison aligns research and education on sustainability (our purpose) with campus operations (our practices) in the service of environmental, economic and social responsibility to people and the planet.


The University of Wisconsin–Madison will be a living model for sustainability, exemplifying values and actions that demonstrate our commitment to stewardship of resources, respect for place and the health and well-being of the broader community, now and for the future.

Guiding Principles

As we work together to make our vision a reality, we will strive to follow these guiding principles:

  • More fully integrate research, education and campus operations
  • Incorporate systems analysis, life-cycle analysis and cradle-to-cradle thinking
  • Advance literacy to affect cultural change
  • Eliminate waste with urgency, in ways that are environmentally, economically and socially responsible
  • Be transparent in our metrics, practices and decision-making
  • Honor and engage the ideas, enthusiasm and commitment of students

Role of the Office of Sustainability

To create a culture of sustainability on campus by instilling sustainability as a core individual value while aligning sustainability principles with campus goals, objectives and activities.

Functional Roles

  • Be the central hub for information on sustainability related activities and resources on the UW-Madison campus
  • Communicate knowledge, practices and achievements in sustainability with the campus community and general public
  • Bring together people and ideas to facilitate networking, foster collaborations and develop strong partnerships to infuse sustainability, knowledge, innovation and best practices
  • Support and cultivate relationships with internal and external organizations to exchange sustainability expertise
  • Use campus knowledge and experience to create practical sustainability definitions, metrics and approaches based on sound scientific principles so we can recommend and influence campus goals, priorities and policies
  • Ensure ample opportunities to engage in sustainability education, leadership and both personal and professional growth
  • Highlight opportunities to optimize responsible use of campus resources, including human, capital and natural resources
  • Be entrepreneurial in developing compelling opportunities, incentives and resources to encourage rapid and effective changes in thinking and behavior


For more information about the Office of Sustainability’s mission, email us at info@sustainability.wisc.edu.

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