In a new post at See Thru Edu, Richard Vedder explores the hot new campus buzzword.

The Unbearable Lightness of Campus “Sustainability” Schemes

Universities often support causes, usually with a distinct leftish orientation, that they think demonstrate their social consciousness and, arguably, moral superiority. A decade ago, “diversity” was the key buzz word, but I think it has lost considerable campus market share to “sustainability.”

Universities want the world to know that they care about the planet and are working hard to reduce human desecration of it. Allow me to be contrarian: I think the sustainability frenzy reveals more about collegiate moral unctuousness, disdain for long-taught verities that have evolved over centuries, political bias, and economic stupidity than it does about advancing the public good.

I somewhat randomly explored ten university and college websites, and every school bragged about its sustainability activities. Stanford claims it “builds sustainability practices and innovation into every aspect of campus life.” The University of Wisconsin’s “Sustainability Forum 2014” is focusing on “Climate Change in Wisconsin.” American University offers a Master’s Degree in “Sustainability Management.” Not to be outdone, Tulane has a Master’s of Sustainable Real Estate Development.” Miami of Ohio offers a “co-major’ (whatever that is) in sustainability. The University of Massachusetts offers advice for student on “launching your sustainability careers.”

During Earth Week 2012, the sustainability apparatchiks at Boise State planned eight events, including a “Trashion Show,” a fashion event showcasing “upcycled” (?) clothing. Coe College in Iowa brags that its president was a “charter signatory of the President’s Climate Commitment.”

Some 679 presidents signed this commitment, proclaiming “we recognize the scientific consensus that global warming…is largely… caused by humans. We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest.…” Each president then pledged to use resources to help his/her school meet this goal, such as a “target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible.”