April 22, 2022
At California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), we understand social justice and ecology to be inextricably linked. The university’s Fifth Commitment is to “Advocate sustainability and social justice:”
CIIS is committed to exploring and promoting knowledge and practices that affirm human solidarity with the entire Earth community. Recognizing that business as usual threatens the integrity of life itself on a planetary scale and perpetuates structures of oppression on a large portion of the human population, CIIS strives to generate creative alternatives leading to a just and flourishing world.
The intersection of ecology and social justice at CIIS can be found throughout the university’s academic and public offerings, but especially in:
- The Integral Ecology track within the Philosophy, Cosmology, & Consciousness programs
- The Ph.D. and M.A. programs in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion
- The Religion & Ecology Summit, an annual conference open to the public
- CIIS Public Programs, including the brand-new Climate Psychology Certificate
Other institutional initiatives at this intersection include:
- The Beyond Land Acknowledgement Task Force, a cross-constituency group guiding CIIS toward right relationship and reciprocity with Indigenous individuals, tribes, and community organizations
- The Climate Chaos Committee, a faculty group advising on policies and procedures so that CIIS can become a model for the climate-resilient university
- The Green Team, a group of staff and students committed to transforming our community’s consciousness through a holistic ecological focus
Next Steps for Ecological Justice at CIIS
In 2022, for the first time in its history, CIIS will be hiring a Sustainability Manager to bring all this work together and provide leadership in fulfilling CIIS’ Fifth Commitment. In alignment with best practices and industry standards within higher education, the university will now have a dedicated staff position that can guide our community toward ecologically just policies and procedures, rich learning opportunities and culture shifts, and community- and relationship-building. Importantly, the Sustainability Manager will be housed within the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to ensure that ecological justice is at the forefront of all decisions and programming.
The Sustainability Manager will partner across constituencies, divisions, and departments to develop, initiate, and coordinate a university-wide program of sustainability practices and initiatives. They will also work toward centralizing and making visible—to both internal and external audiences—the research, teaching, and activism in the areas of sustainability and ecological justice that are already happening at CIIS. By demonstrating CIIS’ existing commitments and leadership in these areas, the Sustainability Manager’s work will enhance the value and appeal of a CIIS education while holding the university community accountable to its highest aspirations.