Lake E-ffect Newsletter banner SUNY Oswego logoDecember 2011 • Vol 7 • No 9

New Minor in Sustainability Studies Underscores Going Green

A new minor in sustainability studies lends energy and coordination to a wide variety of courses that feature ideas, projects and policies for better stewardship of the world.

Sustainability classThe minor's 21-credit-hour requirements include core courses in geology and in economics/political science; a choice among biology, anthropology and physics classes; and electives in biology, chemistry, economics, geology, meteorology, political science, psychology and technology.

"It's a growing minor, so we anticipate more courses," said Lisa Glidden, assistant professor of political science and an adviser to students in the minor. "Interest in sustainability education is growing among faculty and certainly among students, so we are hoping to add more choices, and we also are hoping to have students involved in projects so they can get experience while they are here."

Two years ago, Rachel Rossi '11, then a junior political science major, asked Glidden why Oswego did not have a certificate or a minor in environmental studies. Thanks to the efforts of enthusiastic professors and administrators, the program is now reality. The new minor in sustainability studies recently gained final approval through campus governance, and five students so far have completed paperwork to enroll.

"Luckily, pretty much everybody was on board right from the beginning," Glidden said. "People from all departments on campus that were really interested in sustainability issues were on the committee. So everyone was already at the table."

The minor provides academic support for the vision behind the Presidents' Climate Commitment, which President Deborah F. Stanley signed in June 2007, and for sustainability efforts that gained new momentum on campus this summer with submission of the college's first STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) report.

Venera Jouraeva, visiting assistant professor of chemistry, is proud to teach Chemistry 300 "Environmental Science," an elective in the new minor.

"I think sustainability education is very important," Jouraeva said. "For one thing, I think environmental education is lagging (in this country). We have people who don't know that the food we eat has been modified or that we have an ozone problem or they don't believe in global warming. I think it is important for everyone to have an environmental education if we're going to sustain our planet."

Nearly all of the courses comprising the minor have been taught before, some for years. Glidden and Glenn Graham, associate professor of economics and coordinator of the minor, did create a core course, now in its second semester, Economics 115/Political Science 115 "Economic and Political Foundations of Sustainability."

As for Rossi, who graduated in May before approval of the new minor, she now works for a political consulting firm in Washington. Glidden said Rossi received a certificate showing she completed coursework that now would constitute a minor in sustainability studies.

Jeff Rea '71

Technology education major Tim Governale '12, left, holds a photovoltaic cell used to convert light energy to electricity while Steve Badaracco '13, in Professor Tom Kubicki's class in energy technology. The course is one of 14 that students may apply toward the electives requirement for a new 21-credit-hours minor in sustainability studies.

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