Document Type

Contribution to Book

Source Publication

Educating the Sustainability Leaders of the Future

Publication Date



Walter Leal Filho, Amanda Lange Salvia, Eric Pallant, Beth Choate and Kelly Pearce




Cham, Switzerland


World Sustainability Series



First Page


Last Page


Publisher Statement

This book focuses on 'educating the sustainability leaders of the future' and will contribute to the further development of this fast-growing field. As the title suggests, it presents practical experiences related to education, research and extension, the so-called third mission, whereby universities conduct outreach to society as a whole (e.g. to local communities, organizations, industry, and other groups) with the aim of documenting such experiences and making them available to a wide audience. This book is produced by the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR), through the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP) and contains inputs from authors from across all geographical regions. It gives a special emphasis to the participation of future generations on sustainability efforts. The book also discusses examples of initiatives coordinated by universities but involving civil society, the private sector, and public sector (including local, national, and intergovernmental bodies). In particular, it describes practical experiences, partnerships, networks, and training schemes for building capacity aimed at fostering the cause of sustainable development at institutions of higher education. Thanks to its design and the contributions by experts from various areas, it provides a welcome contribution to the literature on sustainable development, and it inspires further works in this field.-- publisher


This paper explores the organizational theory, programs, and concomitant challenges faced by a state-level higher education consortium for sustainability in the United States, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC). We provide insights for other institutions of higher education that may want to form consortia or consider changes to existing consortia. PERC members collaborate to advance sustainability on member campuses, in local communities, and across the Commonwealth. PERC envisions thriving, just communities on a healthy planet, and seeks to inspire higher education communities throughout the Commonwealth to lead transformational sustainability efforts through example, expertise, and collaboration. This chapter provides a brief theoretical background in PERC as a collaborative. It shares history and context for PERC’s mission and activities as well as an overview of its programs. It includes reflections on challenges to collaboration and coordination, including from COVID-19, changing digital technology, disparities among PERC institutions, accelerating sustainability challenges in the Anthropocene, anti-intellectualism and hyperpartisanship in the Commonwealth and the United States, and PERC’s own staffing, volunteerism, participation, and funding challenges. The chapter closes by revisiting the organization’s 2021–2025 Strategic Plan as an invitation to consider how cooperation, coordination, and collaboration among higher education institutions can positively impact sustainability across sectors.