Community Charter

This Community Charter was written by the student community, in 2017, for the School's Strategic Plan. 

On This Page

    Our history at YSE is steeped in the kinds of path-breaking research, scholarship, practice, teaching, and impactful engagement that advance the solution of complex natural resource and environmental challenges. Our graduates become nationally and internationally renowned environmental leaders, engaging across differences to find productive pathways.

    As we aim to diversify our faculty, students, staff, and our partnerships even more broadly so that we can think, act, and engage most effectively with the wide breadth of environmental challenges, it is imperative that YSE cultivates an inclusive community, respectful of all of its members.

    Yale University School of the Environment is committed to the promotion of personal and professional development of all individuals in its community, and encourages dialogue that will foster the growth, well-being, and dignity of all its members. To attain these goals, we rely indispensably on language—on words.  Words are the life blood of a university, essential both for professing the truths that scholars uncover and for confronting the soft and hard bigotries when we encounter them.  Careful use of words is a special responsibility on each of us to embrace the diversity in our midst with warmth and celebration.

    The school is dedicated to maintaining an environment which places the highest priority on collegial relationships, mutual respect, shared learning, and sensitivity among its students, faculty, and staff. An educational community functions best when there is civility and respect for the dignity and worth of each individual.


    We state a commitment to these foundational pillars of our community:

    I. Diversity

    Like a forest, diversity sustains us. We celebrate the diversity of backgrounds, life experiences, ideas, identities, and interests that are present in our community. We remain awake to persistent realities of marginalization and systemic inequalities. We are committed to making our school a leading institution and addressing issues of diversity and equity in the environmental field.

    II. Inclusion

    Being part of the Yale community, and the community of the School of the Environment, is an extraordinarily privilege. With this privilege comes the responsibility of resisting exclusion and promoting cultures of open-mindedness and inclusivity. We share an understanding that efforts to address society’s gravest environmental challenges must draw from a range of knowledge, perspectives, and experiences and must actively engage with people from all geographical, racial, gender, socioeconomic, and epistemological backgrounds.

    III. Collaboration

    The environmental challenges of the present and future call us to work together. We are embedded in a world of relationships; our community is one that stresses the importance of these relationships, encouraging us to work cooperatively, combine different views and approaches, and share ideas and resources. We are stronger together than we are alone.

    IV. Engagement

    To be effective environmental practitioners, we must know how to engage respectfully, responsibly, and proactively with one another and with a diversity of people, communities, and ideas. We embrace vulnerability, share our feelings openly, and listen actively. We empower one another by engaging in respectful communication across all spaces, academic, professional, and social. We are aware in all instances of voices missing from our work and conversations, and actively work to bring these perspectives into our fold.

    V. Support

    Like trees, we help support others and need others to help support us. Together we create and hold spaces that are nourishing, safe, and welcoming, allowing everyone in our community to express themselves freely and pursue their work and passions. We are both allies and accomplices to the realization of each other’s goals, and we help one another to become mentors and models for the next cohort and the next generation.

    VI. Alignment

    Just as working with natural resources requires holistic thinking, making our values manifest requires alignment across the many spheres of our community. We strive to put what we learn into practice, endeavoring that our own campus may embody our values and understood best practices. We remain aware of the structures, institutions, policies, guidelines, and laws that we work within, and mobilize our resources to identify and reshape misalignments.

    VII. Improvement

    Our community, like any healthy organism, continually adapts and improves. We seek consistent and robust evaluation that helps us identify where we can shift our attention and resources to be of greatest service to our peers, our passions, and our planet. We welcome positive change, and foster environments that are generative of new ideas and possibilities.