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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date May 14, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

George Washington University
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Lisa Benton-Short
Director of the Sustainability Academic Program
Department of Geography
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:
Yes

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

The most commonly used definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Established by Brundtland Commission in 1987 in the seminal report, “Our Common Future: The Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development,” this conceptualization of sustainability serves as the foundation for GW’s vision.

At GW we envision a future with resource systems that are healthy and thriving for all. GW defines sustainability as a balance of social equity, economic prosperity and ecological integrity across the globe and across generations.


Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:
Yes

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

To support its sustainability vision, GW added a Green Leaf designation to courses that focus on or incorporate issues of sustainability in their syllabi. The Green Leaf identification is particularly important for undergraduate students pursuing a minor in Sustainability, as all such courses are pre-approved as meeting the requirements of the minor, which also includes certain distribution requirements. To obtain a "green leaf" designation, the course must address issues around social, economic, and/or environmental sustainability and include at least three of the following criteria:

Courses that might address issues around social, economic, and/or environmental sustainability were identified. The faculty members teaching these courses were contacted and asked to assess if they thought their courses met at least three of the following criteria:

1.Content related to sustainable development: creating healthy and thriving resource systems for all
2.Content related to environmental issues
3.Content related to social issues that can be applied to sustainable development such as human welfare, social equity issues or social / organizational / behavioral change
4.Content related to economic issues that can be applied to sustainable development
5.Discourse focused on the interconnection of world resources and the human condition from a long-term perspective
6.Content related to policy and communications issues that can be applied to sustainable development

If the course is found to meet the criteria and the faculty member gives his/her consent, it is designated as a "Green Leaf Course."

This inventory includes courses beyond those currently Green-leafed. The Green Leaf designation was originally intended for undergraduates. But by popular demand, we have begun to identify sustainability graduate courses with a Green Leaf. This inventory was developed by the Director of the Sustainability Academic Program, the Executive Director of Sustainability, with review and input by faculty members of the GW faculty Committee on Sustainability and university leadership.


Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:
Yes

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

(1) This inventory includes all "Green Leaf" courses as well as other courses that meet the criteria for sustainability curriculum.
(2) At this time, GW's Green Leaf Course criteria do not distinguish between sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses.
(3) The Green Leaf Course list is subject to change from semester to semester. For the most updated list, please download the Compendium of Green Leaf Courses from our website at https://sustainability.gwu.edu/green-course-list.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.