Cape Cod Center

for Sustainability











Cape Cod Community College Connection


          Excerpt from Dawn Hingen, "Center for Sustainability Looking to Join Forces with CCCC," The Mainsheet, October 22, 2003.

          Allen Larson, president of the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability, would like to see his center set up shop at Cape Cod Community College. . . .

          Larson, who is also a member of the CCCC board of trustees, hopes to get a working group of people together as soon as possible to start assessing the various options of bringing the center to campus.  He says it is important that this group of people come from faculty, students, and staff.

          "The long-term goal is to establish a chair at the college that would connect the many things the college already does that fall into the context of studies that comprise sustainability," says Larson.

          Larson envisions a community thinktank on campus, made up of experts in various academic disciplines. Some of the disciplines included would be environmental sciences, economics, statistics, health, and social services.  The thinktank would provide a "gateway of fresh respectful dialog" while considering local issues, Larson said.

          According to Larson, "The goal is to present for public consideration the kind of information that would help shape how the public assesses policy questions and private-sector proposals that are part of our community dialogue here on the Cape and islands."

          He points out that the college already operates in ways that make it a leader and innovator in related areas. Also, it is home to a host of people with varied opinions derived from their varied social and economic backgrounds. These actors add up to the campus's being a great place for the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability.

          "The Center for Sustainability is an excellent match for our mission, and we look forward to talking with the leaders of the center to find and develop the ways in which we can work together," CCCC president Kathleen Schatzberg says. "This will help us accomplish our mission to serve our community in environmental protection, in economic and workforce development, and in educating those who will help our hospitals, schools and other social agencies respond to community needs."

          Space is the only concern Schatzberg has concerning this proposal. "Housing the center at the college is an excellent idea and would involve very minimal space initially," she says. "As both the college and the center continue to grow, we need to be planning how we will handle the increased need for space."

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          Excerpt from Allen Larson, "My View," an op-ed, Cape Cod Times, October 27, 2003.

          Nearly ninety days ago, on July 30, the Cape Cod Times asked in its editorial whether the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability possessed the attributes that define a flourishing organization: "a clear mission, community support, a vast army of local volunteers, leadership, deep pockets." It also asked whether the center could enlist support from "other community organizations, the business sector and local and regional government." The editorial frankly stated that our "overly philosophical mission rarely intersected with concrete action." Whew.

          Since the editorial appeared, we've considered these questions carefully. We mailed questionnaires to past supporters and people familiar with our programs and interests. We met formally with the heads of local businesses and nonprofit organizations. We talked informally with people on the street. We used Internet search engines to study what others do elsewhere. And as we did these things, we kept in the back of our mind the suggestion that we needed to take more "concrete action" consistent with the fundamental mission of our organization to encourage economic and social development in a way that also sustains the environment and our natural resources.

          Since the end of August, we have assessed whether we can more effectively fulfill this mission by establishing a sustainability center at Cape Cod Community College. After all, the college faculty and students possess the range of academic expertise and interest necessary to any objective assessment of the potential impact of public policies and private-sector proposals on our environment, our economic development, our social welfare, and our quality of life.

          We considered the viability of a sustainability center with input from the college's administrators, faculty, students, and staff. On October 17, we took a leap of faith and formally pledged to the college that we would work to establish the center by raising money and developing a more formal and complete business plan. Our purpose is to build on the college's existing capacity to gather data and conduct independent, unbiased studies relevant to any consideration of economic, social, and environmental issues that affect the Cape and islands.

          Operationally, a sustainability center that utilizes the college's existing curriculum as its academic base can complement the application of these course studies and also encourage efforts to define ways to link environmental and social sciences, with business and liberal arts offerings. Outside the curriculum context, a nonpartisan and unbiased center could also bring together key leaders and people from across the political spectrum to share information and examine how we might best resolve economic, environmental, and social issues.

          Reactions to the first presentations we have made regarding this proposal to groups both at the college and in the Cape community have been positive and encouraging. . . .

          The signs are just as encouraging outside the college that businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations will support this initiative. In addition to our pledge to raise money to establish the center, we will also convene a working group to develop a business plan outlining how the center will evolve. Already, we have received positive responses in both of these areas. We have received specific pledges totaling fifteen thousand dollars at the same time that people expressed an interest to join the working group . . . .

          The spirit and drive to succeed that typify the students who attend the college will catalyze the center with energy, enthusiasm, and a commitment to this place. The support and guidance that the administration and faculty offer will add complementary experience and mature guidance. And this venture will flourish to the extent that we connect it to the Cape and islands community.










page updated
March 07, 2006