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Tennessee Higher Education Sustainability Initiative

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TDEC’s Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices (OPSP) serves as the primary contact to provide technical and developmental assistance and support for enhancing sustainability efforts at colleges and universities across the state through the Tennessee Higher Education Sustainability Initiative. These institutions are anchors for economic development in many communities and are responsible for preparing professionals who will develop, lead, manage, teach, and influence society’s future and generations and their activities.  Moreover, these institutions often operate as fully integrated communities capable of modeling social and biological sustainability and illustrating their interdependence with local, regional, and global communities. Providing support and technical assistance to these institutions as they make sustainability an integral part of operations, planning, design, and investments and tying those efforts to the formal curriculum provides an unparalleled educational opportunity for both students and the larger community.

OPSP is currently establishing four new programs to support Tennessee’s higher education institutions:

1.       Tennessee College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (TN CUPP);

2.       Tennessee Higher Education Institutions Sustainability Network (TN HEI SN);

3.       Campus Food Pantry Program; and

4.       Campus Sustainability Improvements Program.

TDEC provides positive, impactful assistance to Tennessee’s higher education institution’s students, faculty, and staff in a complete circle by supporting sustainability and resilience through establishing public-private partnerships to complete community improvements; assisting with campus sustainability initiatives and/or improvements; providing a network for sustainability collaboration and support; and also addressing the most basic human need by providing salvaged food that would have otherwise been wasted to food insecure people.