If you happen to come across Kendall’s campus, tucked into the southeast end of Chicago’s once-industrial Goose Island, you might be surprised to see an organic garden. While this garden is both a valuable resource to our culinary school and an excellent learning opportunity for our culinary students, it’s also a reminder of our commitment to sustainability. The food we grow in our garden ends up in our student-run restaurants—and, I can say personally, in the satisfied stomachs of our guests.
The curriculum at Kendall has a strong focus on sustainability. From the garden and composting, to the implications on a business’s bottom line, we want our students prepared to enter the workforce with the tools to make smart sustainability decisions. This is also true of our hospitality program, whose students make up the Students for Environmental Engagement and Development (S.E.E.D.) club. From projects like an Earth Week treasure hunt to an organic urban plant sale, these students are committed to building experience in sustainable planning and execution, and they are dedicated to ensuring that our campus stays active in a variety of social responsible, sustainable initiatives.
By being so locally focused, we’re thinking more globally. We have a responsibility to protect our planet that starts with us. It’s a no-brainer that we should understand the processes and share those with our students, who go on to contribute to or establish their own businesses that are driven by sustainable principles.
What’s more: We’re never done. We will never master sustainability. That’s part of the excitement. There are always new innovations to uncover. New approaches to daily routines and standards.
Sustainability should be “baked in” to every piece of curriculum and end up a regular thought in graduates’ minds. You don’t set a specific goal, meet it, and leave the project behind. Things change. You have to constantly think about how to refine or change your approach to sustainability.
How do you cultivate sustainable practices in your life or career?