The campus landscape, like its buildings, can be seen as the physical embodiment of a college’s values. It is a vital part of the life of a campus, providing space for study, play, outdoor events, aesthetic appreciation, and even food production, while serving as a “living lab” for research on sustainable landscapes and delivering valuable ecosystem services (see Appendix B for a list of ecosystem services). The campus landscape is also often seen as a factor in student recruitment. A survey by APPA, published in Facilities Manager magazine (March/April 2006), found that outdoor spaces and an “attractive campus” were important criteria in student decisions to attend or stay at an institution.
Because campus landscapes are so visible and accessible, landscape initiatives are a great way to build awareness and promote learning among the entire campus community as well as the surrounding community. Both can benefit from sustainable landscape initiatives. This guide identifies ways to build awareness of the benefits of sustainable practices, engage others in projects, garner external recognition, and effectively communicate the institutional value of sustainable campus landscapes in order to achieve a lasting impact. An important rationale behind this focus is that ultimately, long-term support from administrators, faculty, staff, students, and the community will be essential to the success of sustainable campus landscapes for generations to come.
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