Sustainability Advisory Council

The Sustainability Advisory Council (SAC) developed strategic priorities which align the university’s mission, current campus strategic plans, the 2010 Sustainability Initiative Task Force Report, the Second Nature Resilience Commitment, and our legacy of resource stewardship to advance sustainability at UW–Madison.

Strategic Framework

Red outline of Bucky Badger.

Our Culture

Make sustainability principles part of our day-to-day interactions, operations, and decision-making.

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Red outline of Bascom Hall.

Our Purpose

Elevate sustainability as a discipline, support collaborative research, and expand learning opportunities.

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Our Practice

“Walk the talk” with policies, procedures,
and systems that build a sustainable university.

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SAC Documentation Details

The Sustainability Advisory Council proposed a strategic sustainability plan as the culmination of their first year of work

The SAC set strategic priorities in Fall of 2021 and the Living Report contains a summary of these priorities, details on action plans and progress updates.

Intended to be a living document, this page will be updated as details and progress updates are available.

View living report

In response to requests for increased student participation, an all-student subcommittee was established to support student members of the SAC and provide feedback on the SAC’s work.

View report

Listening sessions for the SAC were intended for the UW–Madison community and were open to the public. Currently no additional listening sessions are scheduled.

Schedule and Recordings

10/14/2020 12:00-1:00pm Listening Session #1A Watch the recording
10/15/2020 7:00-8:00pm Listening Session #1B Watch the recording
10/20/2020 7:00-8:00pm Listening Session #1C (UW-Madison students only) Watch the recording
3/18/2021 12:00-1:00pm Listening Session #2A Watch the recording
3/23/2021 7:00-8:00pm Listening Session #2B Watch the recording
3/25/2021 7:00-8:00pm Listening Session #2C (UW–Madison students only) Completed

October 7, 2020: Kick-Off Meeting

Executive Summary

November 17, 2020: Meeting #2, Prioritization Process

Executive Summary

December 11, 2020: Meeting #3, Academics and Research

Executive Summary
Academics and Research Focus Areas

January 15, 2021: Meeting #4, Engagement

Executive Summary
Engagement Focus Areas

February 12, 2021: Meeting #5, Operations

Executive Summary
Operations Focus Areas

March 12, 2021: Meeting #6, Planning and Administration

Executive Summary
Planning and Administration Focus Areas

April 9, 2021: Meeting #7, Prioritization

Executive Summary

May 14, 2021: Meeting #8, Recommendations

Executive Summary

November 9, 2021: Fall 2021 Update

Executive Summary

March 23, 2022: Spring 2022 Update

Executive Summary

SAC meetings and listening sessions were recorded and are available to watch online.

Watch recordings

The SAC membership represents the breadth of the campus community, including shared governance.

View council members

Methodology & Documentation

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1. Establish Cross-functional Team

SAC members were identified based upon a preliminary gap analysis of our first STARS report with a goal of ensuring representation from across the university. Feedback from student groups informed the final structure including 3 student seats and an all student subcommittee.

2. Kickoff Sustainability Advisory Council and Student Subcommittee

With inspiration from Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Provost Karl Scholz, and Vice Chancellor Laurent Heller the work of the SAC began in Fall 2020.

3. Define Unifying Values

The SAC defined unifying values to guide the implementation of initiatives that support the strategy.

4. Hold First Set of Listening Sessions

The first set of public listening sessions sought input from university and community members on the structure of, and outcomes from, the SAC.

5. Develop Focus Areas

Focus areas represent collections of issues to be addressed, coupled with potential solutions, and were defined by a review of peer best practices, results of our first STARS report, Office of Sustainability staff experience, and feedback from the campus community during public listening sessions.

6. Prioritize Focus Areas

After discussions SAC members individually ranked each focus area from most important to address to least, rankings were averaged to develop a preliminary prioritization

7. Hold Second Set of Listening Sessions

The second set of public listening session sought feedback from university and community members on the preliminary prioritization of the focus areas.

8. Deliver Recommendations

Based upon the focus area prioritization, feedback from the student subcommittee, and feedback received during the listening sessions the SAC summarized their work into priorities to advance sustainability across our culture, our purpose, and our practice.

9. Define Sustainability for UW-Madison

To support implementation of the recommendations the SAC reached consensus on a definition of “sustainability” for UW–Madison.

Contact Us

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the Sustainability Advisory Council, please email In addition, you can sign up for our SAC email list here.