About the Office for Sustainability

The mission of the Office for Sustainability aligns with that of UTRGV: To transform the Rio Grande Valley, the Americas, and the world through an innovative and accessible educational environment that promotes student success, research, creative works, health, and well-being, community engagement, and sustainable development.

As an Area of Focus in UTRGV's Strategic plan, the Office for Sustainability’s mission is to advance the principles of sustainability through the continuing existence of a healthy, safe, and environmentally sustainable campus that enhances individual health, community well-being, and positive teaching/learning experiences, while maximizing efficiencies, accessibility, and affordability by educating and empowering faculty, students, staff, and community to enact change on our campus and the region.

Office for Sustainability Vision

We strive to support individuals as we move together in pursuit of sustainable innovation, opportunity, purpose, and careers. We seek to engage and unite every corner of the university to create an environment in which all members of the campus community are generating knowledge, acquiring skills, developing values, and initiating sustainable practices in their personal and professional lives.

OFS is charged with institutionalizing sustainable development across all and recognizes the necessity of infusing sustainability into its curriculum, community engagement efforts, and its day-to-day operations. As such, we assist students, faculty, staff, and the community in connecting them with the resources to make the inclusion of sustainable development.

UTRGV continuously engages students and the community, providing educational resources and partnering with several departments, both within and outside of the university, to offer student organizations opportunities to participate in sustainability programs, projects, and events both on and off-campus.


The most commonly accepted definition comes from the Brundtland Commission (1987), "Sustainability is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The three main pillars of sustainable development include economic growth, environmental protection, and social equity.

Sustainable Development

Here at UTRGV, we are using the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals to educate our community-both campus and public- about where their work falls in the realm of sustainable development. The UN Sustainable Development Goals outline 17 areas that fall within economic growth, environmental protection, and social equality.

A Sustainable Rio Grande Valley

Our Region - UTRGV is situated in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America located at the most southern tip of Texas, where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico. Four climates (temperate, desert, coastal, and sub-tropical) converge to create a 365-day growing season, and rich soils of the Rio Grande delta support a documented 1,200 plant species within the Valley. This plant diversity attracts wildlife, birds, and butterflies that can only be found in the U.S. - and often only in this region. The Valley is also one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, largely due to its proximity to the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan statistical area is expected to jump to 1.9 million people by 2030, which is a 397% growth rate from the 1990 population. Though the growth is a boom to the economy, since the 1930s, 95% of the native habitat found within the Valley has been cleared for agricultural or urban development. This development has relegated native plants and animals to remnant tracts, possibly compromising the genetic integrity of many species.

Producing socially conscious citizens and leaders - The Valley's explosive growth, coupled with its unique ecological situation, presents challenges as well as opportunities with regard to sustainability. The university is dedicated to being a transformative force for the Rio Grande Valley through education and service while contributing to the economic growth, environmental stewardship, health, and cultural richness of the region. The Valley has much to gain in the area of sustainability, and UTRGV provides the tools necessary to enact such change through career paths for our students that will directly serve the community, improving health and longevity, while multidisciplinary research provides new business models, data for habitat preservation, and opportunities for entrepreneurship. As an institution, UTRGV is in a position to inspire, engage and prepare students to be socially conscious citizens and transformative leaders who will discover and apply sustainable solutions to preserve and maintain the planet. UTRGV serves as a model for the region by integrating sustainability goals of preserving a healthy and renewable ecological system, developing economic viability, and pursuing social justice across all areas of the university. By addressing university goals through the wide scope of sustainability, and in accordance with our local tradition and global movements, UTRGV works to maintain a high standard of environmental responsibility. To that end, in 2009, the university created the University Sustainability Council (and the Office for Sustainability to bridge the gap between old traditions and new goals.)