The University of St. Thomas Sustainability Advisory Council Charter

Definition of Sustainability

The most commonly held definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable systems preserve and advance social equity, economic prosperity, and the healthy functioning of ecological systems now and in the future.


Statement of Purpose

The Sustainability Council acts as a conduit and advocate for sustainability-related activities on both the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. The council’s members coordinate and collaborate on the development and implementation of sustainable policies, practices, research and curricula across the university with approval by the president’s senior staff. The council manages the Sustainability webpage and its contents to ensure completeness and robust descriptions of sustainability activities. The council recommends long-term sustainability goals for the university and identifies the means to achieve them related to the President’s Climate Commitment. Council members are expected to solicit input and to champion and communicate to each member’s respective areas of involvement so that all campus stakeholders become informed and take ownership of sustainability initiatives.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Devise comprehensive yet practical activities to foster sustainability across the entire organization.
  • Improve the university’s sustainability intelligence – how information is gathered and reported, findings analyzed, lessons learned and results applied.
  • Utilize sustainability for the university’s competitive advantage – in recruitment, fundraising, financial and resource management, community relations and funded research.
  • Disseminate and promote sustainability accomplishments, tools and challenges.
  • Establish campuswide measurement methodologies for quantifying, comparing, benchmarking and prioritizing progress toward sustainability.
  • Foster linkages among and within campus departments, both operational and academic.
  • Define annual and long-term sustainability priorities for the university.
  • Provide support and guidance to student and staff groups participating in meaningful sustainability activities.
  • Provide oversight of the university’s Carbon Neutrality Plan and the annual energy audits.



The Sustainability Council members are appointed by the provost and CFO to represent key campus operations and academic circular constituencies that have direct responsibility; to provide expertise in planning, operations, academics, research, community relations and student life; and to bring their unique familiarity with various aspects of sustainability. 

Membership consists of:

  • Elise Amel, Professor, Psychology and Office of Sustainability Initiatives Faculty Director
  • Nichole Boehmke, Director of Facilities Services
  • Bernard Brady, Professor of Theology and Office for Mission Associate Director 
  • Amy Gage, Program Director, Neighborhood Relations
  • Kristen Hatfield, Director of Admissions
  • Mitch Karstens, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services
  • Molly Kelley, Human Resources Business Partner & Talent Development Specialist
  • Amanda Liu, Associate Vice President for Marketing Strategy
  • Aaron Macke, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life
  • Jennifer McKay, Sustainability Club Co-President
  • Amir Nadav, Assistant Director of Campus Sustainability & Sustainability Advisory Council Chair 
  • Pamela Peterson, Executive Director, Dining Services
  • Ariana Porcello, Undergraduate Student Government Sustainability Representative
  • Mark Vangsgard, Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer


Council Procedures 

The council composition is intended to bring together the perspectives of diverse stakeholder groups to ensure that sustainability principles and practices are adopted as a part of the university’s journey toward becoming both carbon neutral and having all students, staff and faculty be sustainability aware. The council is not a proportionately representative, oversight, policy or rulemaking body, and thus is expected to arrive at its recommendations by consensus rather than by vote. As an advisory group, the council must understand that the university has many competing needs and limited resources, and may not be able to implement every recommendation. The council should endeavor to provide advice that is balanced, objective, practical and in the best interests of the entire campus community. The council will work year-round and may organize its work and meeting schedule as it deems appropriate. The council is encouraged to post updates to the Sustainability website to ensure that the campus receives accurate, complete and timely information.