|Submission Date||Dec. 14, 2017|
|0.02 / 4.00|
The Sustainability Program is a living-learning community at SLU’s Sustainability Farm, where students live with their peers who are committed to creating a more sustainable world. Students will live and work at the farm through the school year and take at least 1.5 credits at the farm each semester (with the option of taking additional credits at the farm or returning to campus to take courses toward their major or distribution requirements). This program involves both in-class and out-class learning opportunities and is targeted toward sophomores and juniors. The program guides students toward becoming ecological citizens on local and global levels. Courses are taught by dynamic faculty from across the University and use project-based teaching methods to guide students in identifying sustainability problems, evaluating solutions, and working with communities to implement those solutions. Students in the program are taught strategies for engaging and educating their peers on topics relevant to sustainability.
The program is designed to guide students in developing five competencies necessary to solving society's most pressing sustainability issues. These competencies include:
- Systems Thinking: Understanding the complex relationships among and between social, political, and environmental systems involved in sustainability questions.
- Anticipatory Analysis: Thinking into the future to predict future consequences of actions and policies.
- Normative Thinking: Recognizing how social beliefs and values impact how we frame issues, develop strategies for solutions, and evaluate decisions about future actions.
- Strategic Application: Identifying various strategies for solving recognized problems.
Interpersonal Skills: Working within communities and with others to develop and implement solutions to problems.
In developing the above competencies, students the meets the following learning goals:
-Learn to seek and implement interdisciplinary solutions to sustainability problems.
-Comprehend the local and global intersections of sustainability issues.
-Identify the complexities of relationships involved with sustainability issues.
-Develop strategies to communicate environmental knowledge to different audiences.
-Gain leadership skills in community engagement and environmental activism.
There is a competitive application process to apply to be in this program and to live at the sustainability farm.
Sustainability Leadership 1: Sustainable Communication: Education, Advocacy, and Activism. Moving forward in sustainability efforts requires effective communication skills; therefore this course develops your skills as environmental leaders by teaching you theories and practices of communicating environmental education and sustainable advocacy. This course will particularly focus on how you communicate to different audiences and with different purposes. In the course assignments you will provide an environmental education session to a local youth group, write articles for digital audiences, and target a college-audience with persuasive communication. Certified Interpretive guide training, an internationally recognized training through the National Association of Interpretation, will be offered as part of the course and will require a time commitment over fall break or two weekend of the semester.
Sustainability Leadership 2: Solving Sustainability
Too often discussion of sustainability problems can seem overwhelming and make people feel it’s all hopeless. This course seeks to encourage students to get involved in their local and global community. The Sustainability Leadership curriculum focuses on five core competencies: systems thinking, anticipatory, normative, interpersonal and strategic. While these competencies overlap, this course emphasizes systems thinking (interaction between components in a sustainability issue), anticipatory thinking (what will happen if no intervention occurs), and strategic thinking (what does a successful intervention and its outcome look like). To do this, students will understand case studies that model the relevant competencies and complete problem based learning that allows them to apply these same competencies. Finally, students will be asked to evaluate their intervention. Example case studies could include a successful global intervention in ozone depletion. The case study would model competencies: identifying the problem of ozone depletion, anticipating possible outcomes (what might cause the hole gets bigger or smaller) and strategic action (policy initiatives that addressed the issue). Examples of problems based learning activities could include for example how SLU can meet its climate commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040.The focus of the Problem Based Learning will be decided upon collectively by students and faculty each semester drawing on faculty expertise and student interest. The course will be taught by multiple faculty using on interdisciplinary perspectives.
The University has 7 faculty members actively involved in this program. One of the faculty members serves as the faculty coordinator for the program. Additionally, the University employs one 12 month FTE who serves as the the program director and the point person at the site.
The University operates and maintains the Sustainability Program Site which includes: a traditional farm house for student residence, a small office building/classroom space, and a Quonset hut as well as approximately 33.5 acres for gardens, orchards, livestock, season extension structures and future additional residence space.
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.
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.