Meaning of Sustainability & Our Mission

What is Sustainability?  The most often quoted definition comes from the World Commission on Environment and Development: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Sustainability is a holistic approach that considers ecological, social and economic dimensions, recognizing that all must be considered together to find lasting prosperity.

Our Mission:  The Oregon Tech Sustainability Committee serves as the coordinating body for the university’s activities relating to sustainability. We address ways to imbue the theme of sustainability throughout Oregon Tech in meaningful and visible ways.

Solar Field and Geothermal Plant

Current Committee Members - 2022

  • Lloyd Parratt Natural Sciences, Chair
  • Michael Healy Computer Systems Eng. Tech.
  • Sean St. Clair Civil Engineering
  • David Culler Manuf./Mech. Eng. Tech.
  • Leah Jolly Medical Imaging Technology
  • Christy VanRooyen Natural Sciences
  • Slobodan Petrovic Elec. Renew. Energy Eng.
  • Joanna Mott Academic Affairs Director
  • Thom Darrah Facilities Management Services
  • Mira Wonderwheel University Development
  • Maria Depuy Business Affairs
  • Theodor Giles Student Representative
  • Kate Hicks Student Representative
  • Tyler Rhoades Student Representative



Earth Day 2022

Earth Day: April 22, 2022

Earth Day Activities: April 18-23, 2022

Earth Week 2022

This year’s focus is on preventing the disasters of climate change and environmental destruction while promoting sustainability in Oregon and beyond. Activities include:

  • Earth Week Scaveng'earth' Hunt! Join in the fun via the Oregon Tech App!
  • Fire Ecology Walk, April 18, 2:30 - 3:30 pm at Moore Park. Join Professor Lloyd Parratt and Sustainability Committee members to learn about fire ecology.
  • Give A Hoot Day, April 20, A 24-hour fundraising extravaganza that promotes volunteer action. Make a gift to a program or initiative that promotes sustainability: Sustainability Committee, Bee Club, Renewable Energy Engineering, OMIC
  • Sustainability in Oregon & Beyond, Earth Day, April 22, 11 am - noon,
    Via Zoom,
    A distinguished panel discussion with student moderator, Pierson Gest '22, Renewable Energy Engineering, including: Dr. Dan Peterson, Dean, College of Health Arts and Sciences, Kameron Beeks, P.E., Education Studio Lead, Glumac A Tetra Tech Company, Kerry Rappold, Natural Resources Program Manager, City of Wilsonville, Laura Polk '15, Board Director, Solar Hope, Dr. John Ritter, Founding Faculty Oregon Tech's Environmental Sciences Program, and Dr. Mason Terry, Director, Oregon Renewable Energy Center
  • Kiss the Ground, Sustainable Klamath Viewing, 6:30 - 9:30 pm, Ross Ragland Cultural Center, FREE! Sustainability Committee will have an information table at this event.
  • Native Plant Garden Volunteer Work Party, Saturday, April 23, 2022, 10 am - noon, Join Professor Lloyd Parratt and Oregon Tech's Sustainability Committee for an Earth Day volunteer action at the Native Plant Garden. Oregon Tech's Native Plant Garden is located on the northwest side of campus in between the new Center for Excellence in Engineering and Technology (CEET) and Facilities. Gather at 10 am with outdoor work clothing (long pants, long sleeves, gloves, etc.) and be prepared to help plant native species, remove invasive species, and do some trail and garden maintenance.

Climate Neutral by 2050


Oregon Tech will be climate neutral by the year 2050. This will be accomplished through a combination of energy conservation, improved building design, the purchase of carbon offsets, and the construction of twin "large" and “small” geothermal power plants. Other initiatives include:

Academic Programs

Training graduates in sustainable technology, design, and practices:

  • Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (life cycle analysis and lean manufacturing)
  • Renewable Energy Engineering (harnessing energy from renewable resources)
  • Civil Engineering (environmental design and LEED building design)
  • Environmental Sciences (watershed sciences, geographic information systems, and sustainable technologies emphasis areas)


The Oregon Tech Arboretum is operated by the Klamath Tree League in cooperation with Oregon Tech and includes trees from around the world.  The Oregon Tech bee hives and the air quality monitoring station are located adjacent to the Arboretum.

Native Plant Gardens and Xeriscaping

These gardens feature indigenous plant life and xeriscaped landscaping techniques (requiring little or no irrigation). They are located on the Oregon Tech campus, were designed by Civil Engineering students, and are maintained by the Sustainability Committee. The garden areas serve as a test plot for the adaptability and robustness of native plant species and collectively serve as a teaching garden for the community. Oregon Tech also has a small on-campus wetland.

Encouraging Alternative Transportation

Oregon Tech encourages alternative transportation use for community members. There are bus pass discounts for students, faculty and staff to encourage the use of mass transports. There is also an electric car plug-in station conveniently located in one of the parking lots. The campus gets involved with the annual Bike-To-Work day in May.

Transportation Alternatives

 Learn more about innovative approaches influencing transportation policy on college campuses, with examples from around the nation.

Action Groups

Groups directly involved in community sustainability efforts include:

  • The Sustainability Committee which is made up of faculty, students, staff, and community members
  • The Student Sustainability Club
  • Engineers without Borders
  • The Student Sustainability Internship Program, active at both campus locations

Simpler and more sustainable lifestyle enveloping a smaller-than-conventional carbon footprint.


Live Sustainably


sustainability logo


The Geo Trail is a 2-mile hiking and snowshoeing trail linking Quail Park at Crystal Terrace, Sky Lakes Medical Center and Oregon Institute of Technology.


Embedded Computer Systems Help Solve Planet’s Problems:

A Beehive Monitor Data Delivery device developed as a student-team capstone project.

Beehive Monitor

Biking and Walking in Portland and Wilsonville

REACH Inc. handles all of the mixed recycling on the Oregon Tech KFalls campus.

REACH describes itself as a rehabilitation facility whose primary goal is to provide support and encouragement toward the achievement of self-fulfillment by providing job skills and training for people with disabilities.

Look for these posters offering guidance at recycling centers located across campus.

Reach Poster

Earth and Sun
Sustainable Campus

Additional Resources

The Oregon Tech Tiny House Movement initiative continues to take shape. This is a student-led cross disciplinary effort meant to bring awareness to sustainable lifestyles by downsizing living spaces to several hundred square feet, as opposed to the typical home footprint in the U.S. of around 2,500 square feet.

Sustainability Panel