Diversity as Sustainability


Today I received extraordinary news which represents the latest in a strong of decisions and actions on behalf of Duke University that make me proud to have attended the university. Duke President, Richard H. Brodhead, announced Tuesday:


"To recognize the contributions of Julian Abele, the African-American architect of Duke University's original campus, the university will name the main quadrangle encompassing the original academic and residential buildings Abele Quad, and will take several other steps to make Abele's role at Duke more prominent "

Image via   Duke Today

Image via Duke Today


Normally, the announcements from Duke that make me proud tend to center around environmental decisions or breakthroughs, but this decision is equally worthy, and, specifically, socially important.

Duke has taken a large and concrete step toward honoring the man who, as principal architect of Duke's West Campus, shaped the aesthetic of Duke's campus and designed the university we know today. As a black man, Abele would have at times been discouraged to even step foot on campus at all, which is why the decision to name the main quadrangle on Duke's original campus after him is so momentous.

This action can in no way remedy past wrongs, but it's a step in the right direction -- a step toward sustainability.

Sustainability? That's right, this is about sustainability. No community can be sustainable without being inclusive. If it doesn't work to incorporate the best ideas and recognize everyone who wishes to belong, the best solutions won't be discovered. By recognizing the contributions of Julian Abele, Duke has begun to shore up an important part of Durham's foundation, helping to create a more sustainable community.

Yours truly,

Guest blogger, Environmental Business Consultant, Neil Matouka