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Sustainability 2015, 7(9), 11799-11817; doi:10.3390/su70911799

Comparing Sustainable Universities between the United States and China: Cases of Indiana University and Tsinghua University

1
School of Public Administration, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, 3 Wenyuan Road, Nanjing 210046, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for New Urbanization and Social Governance in Jiangsu Province, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China
3
Institute of Urban Development Studies, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, 3 Wenyuan Road, Nanjing 210046, China
4
Department of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, 19122 PA, USA
5
School of Information Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, 30 Shuangqing Road, Haidian, Beijing 100084, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sarah Holdsworth and Ian Thomas
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 26 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [911 KB, uploaded 26 August 2015]   |  

Abstract

It is widely accepted that universities can play critical roles in promoting sustainability. In the United States and China, many universities have initiated sustainability programs. Employing Indiana University, Bloomington, the U.S. (IUB) and Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Tsinghua) as two cases, we examine the conceptualization and implementation of university sustainability programs through a comparison of their respective definitions, goals, organizational dynamics, and strategies. We find that IUB’s sustainability scheme is more detailed and specific, while Tsinghua’s is more general; this is principally attributable to differences in national and local contexts. Furthermore, IUB values the environmental, economic, and social aspects of university sustainability equally, while Tsinghua focuses more on the environmental aspect. In addition, IUB has a more loosely-structured and more inclusive sustainability organizational dynamic while Tsinghua has a more hierarchical one. This comparative study helps us to understand how these two research universities understand and implement sustainability within the respective cultural, political, and institutional contexts of the United States and China. View Full-Text
Keywords: university sustainability; education for sustainable development; green university; Indiana University; Tsinghua University; United States; China university sustainability; education for sustainable development; green university; Indiana University; Tsinghua University; United States; China
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zou, Y.; Zhao, W.; Mason, R.; Li, M. Comparing Sustainable Universities between the United States and China: Cases of Indiana University and Tsinghua University. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11799-11817.

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