Faculty Publications


Campus Infrastructure and Sustainable Resource Management Practices: Mapping Campus DNA for Human Resiliency

Document Type



Adaptive systems, Cross-scale relationships, Higher education institutions, Interdisciplinary, Socio-ecological systems, Sustainability

Journal/Book/Conference Title

World Sustainability Series

First Page


Last Page



The Talloires Declaration (2015) on Sustainability, an action plan for sustainability leadership and environmental literacy, has nearly 500 signatory universities in 50 countries. Different sustainability frameworks assess practices (primarily ecological) in transportation, construction, energy, waste, food, water, and landscaping that impact university curricula, research, operations, outreach, assessment and reporting. Sustainable campuses must be conceptualized as complex nested systems with the human experience of the campus landscape at the core. Just as DNA is the language that enables resiliency of the human body system, the campus infrastructure and its sustainable resource management practices communicate and enable resiliency of everyday human experiences. Understanding the dynamic relationship between sustainable practices and core human experiences (e.g., learning and well-being) within a campus landscape helps decode the DNA of that campus and its potential for human resiliency. This paper highlights examples of interdisciplinary collaborations at a Talloires signatory university to explore links between the ecological and human dimensions of sustainability. Integrative conceptual frameworks, descriptive examples from curricular efforts, and analysis of student reflections demonstrate influences of campus ecological features on student experiences. Although challenging and complex, mapping campus DNA must include, and cannot ignore, core human experiences as universities develop future sustainable efforts.

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa