Abstract

In May 2006, Illinois Wesleyan University hosted a three-day workshop on “Integrating Environmental Sustainability into Education at "IWU” for university faculty, staff and administrators who were not normally engaged in environmental work on campus. The workshop was designed to promote sustainability thinking at an institutional level, and strove to show how sustainability thinking could be applied across the curriculum and university operations, and not simply in environmental studies: more than 40 members of the IWU community participated in the workshop, including 22 faculty members representing fifteen academic departments. The keynote address and ensuing discussions put forth the idea that sustainability is about much more than protecting the environment: it is about understanding the linkages between economic well being, social justice, and environmental and human health; it is about applying systems thinking to our everyday campus practices and teaching pedagogies across the curriculum; and it is about “making the invisible visible.” Articulating sustainability thinking around these three themes had powerful results—participants were inspired to take action in ways that simply talking about the immediate environmental impacts of campus actions had not. As part of the workshop, participants were encouraged to identify and develop their own “sustainability project” for inclusion in a course or a campus program for which they were responsible. In total 19 project proposals were submitted.

In this presentation, we briefly summarize the workshop approach, describing workshop events and themes, preparatory work, and post-workshop evaluations and activities. We then present three model projects that faculty and staff developed as a result of this workshop, including two innovative projects which revamped existing classes in mathematical modeling and psychology to incorporate sustainability themes, and a campus project in the admissions office offset carbon emissions from mileage accrued while recruiting students.

Disciplines

Environmental Sciences

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