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Discussion

University sustainability initiatives transform local and regional developmental patterns and encourage fundamental research in the fields of political, economic, social, and environmental sciences. Anthony Cortese (2003) discusses the procedures necessary for accelerating ideas about accepting sustainability into society. Cortese analyzes several structural aspects of the current industrial system and how they contribute to the disintegration of education. These aspects include human interactions and activities, environmental strategies, technology, and policy, while industrial activities threaten the profound responsibility of higher education institutions to provide the knowledge, skills, and values necessary in constructing a just and sustainable future (Cortese, 2003).

Cortese (2003) concludes that there must be a transformative shift in the thinking, values, and actions by all of society's leaders, professionals, and general population in addressing issues of sustainability. Cooperation is a critical tool in achieving sustainability goals, though it is believed that the stresses of higher education on individual learning result in professionals who are ill prepared for cooperative efforts. The educational experience of college students and graduates must reflect an intricate connection among curriculum and research (Cortese, 2003). Cooperative measures are necessary to improve local and regional conditions so that communities achieve social, economic, and environmental stability.

Pearce and Uhl's (2013) research demonstrates the importance of University leaders recognizing their sustainability deficits and implementing policies designed to guide society toward a sustainable future. One example of this approach is found in the Green Destiny Council (GDC) at Pennsylvania State University. Faculty, staff, and students at the university united to form the GDC to achieve goals of sustainability. The GDC divided the University into nine systems: energy, water, materials, food, land, transport, buildings, community, and research. Sustainable practices for each system were defined. The ecological mission of the GDC was to alter Penn State University's policies to include principles of sustainability.

Pearce and Uhl (2013) focused on integrating environmental concerns in teaching, research, and service missions. First, the GDC drafted an ecological mission for Penn State. The University leaders then proceeded to review the ecological mission providing feedback on concerns related to the ecological proposals. The GDC modified the mission to address the concerns of the reviewers. The GDC's final consensus statement offers a clear vision for guiding the future of Penn State's developmental decisions and sustainability initiatives. The work of the GDC led to the formulation of ecological principles for Penn State. Clearly, whether Penn State follows through with its ecological mission over time is yet to be seen, but it provides a model for placing sustainability at the center of university planning.

The research of Cortese (2003), as well as Pearce and Uhl (2013), recognizes the advantageous position of higher education institutions as facilitators for societal and ecological progress. Pearce and Uhl (2013) found that the key to implementing sustainable practices in the long-term resides in the institution to carry out ecological initiatives (p. 60). Plan development and annual reviews for conservation at the institutional level are critical in achieving sustainability goals. A lack of commitment, cooperation, and values for conservation at the institutional level continues to hinder the progress and continuity of regional sustainability.

UCF insists on achieving ecological goals. However, their persistence in doing so has been hindered by the institutionalized values of industrial development for economic growth. What can UCF incorporate into its Campus Master Plan to ensure wise land use and concurrently protect Florida's most vulnerable species? UCF's Final Campus Master Plan shows that conservation does not take precedence over financial investments and projected planning. Developing a financial plan for conservation is the first goal in advancing conservation at UCF. Further research includes monitoring investments in improving ecological systems and their effects on global sustainability and environmental security. UCF's administration demonstrates an understanding of the ecological and legal obligations of protecting imperiled species and habitat; however, the extensive development of UCF has overshadowed many commitments made toward conservation.

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