| Higher Education Campaign: Eco-responsibility in the Classroom |
Why isn't sustainability a core part of all majors?
The best hope for positive change starts by integrating eco-responsibility into every major. Students need to be shown from the start, opportunities that exist for maximizing sustainability and profitability while minimizing environmental impact. Eco-laws are tightening across the globe. In an ever globalizing economy, future professionals won't have the luxury of doing things the old ways. Students are paying to become prepared for the working world, is the school providing them all the tools they'll need to be successful?
If you're an educator be sure to learn about, then incorporate, sustainability into all aspects of your lessons. If you're a student, ask your professors why they're not talking about sustainability and eco-issues. Most educators, will take the time to seek-out information out of their experience scope, if their students are interested making the whole of the learning experience richer for everybody.
Educators, take a stand.
For those in academia looking for a blueprint to guide program change, the books Packaging Sustainability and Sustainable Graphic Design from Wiley Publishing, represents the core approach of Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s (MCAD) ground-breaking Sustainable Design Program (mcad.edu/sustainable). Most of the key contributors to these books are Sustainable Design faculty (and also o2 members), who welcome the opportunity to open a dialogue about higher education’s roll and responsibility in reshaping industry.
Simple ways for educators to get things started...
> Host a lecture series for your school. Getting eco-issues presented on campus is a great way to get the ball rolling. Drop us a note, we'll help you find speakers!
> Start a professional development fund. Providing resources for faculty to become well-versed in applied sustainability is the key to multiplying positive impact and fostering real, long-term change.
> Support an o2 student chapter. Keeping informed on eco-issues and sharing that information gets others involved as well.
> Sign-on to the The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Show your commitment to the future by taking this important step today.
> Help fulfill ACUPCC requirements by expanding your curriculum with one of these Open Courseware classes: Introduction to Sustainable Design and Business, or Introduction to Sustainability, lesson plans and teaching materials are available to any accredited institution through o2umw.org.
Students, ask hard questions.
Is there at least one class in your degree program focusing on eco-issues? Do your professors integrate sustainability into their lesson plans? If not, why not? Ask tough questions in class. If a professor presents a scenario, ask what the eco-implications are. Take every opportunity to focus on sustainability. If you get off-hand replies like "Doing it eco is too expensive." you may want to consider changing classes, or if necessary, programs. Universities that turn a blind eye to sustainability issues aren't fully preparing their students for the global economy they'll be working in.
Simple ways for students to get things started...
> Make sure at least individual class presentations and report choices are about an eco-topic. Even in a basic accounting class one can talk about the Chicago Climate Exchange, or Waste as a Tangible Asset, or profitability impacts of long-term Liability for UN-eco behavior, or eco as a Risk Mitigation Strategy. BE CREATIVE! The individual report may be the first time fellow students are hearing about eco-issues in a real world setting.
> Consider looking outside of your school. If becoming more attractive to employers in today's market is a motivating goal, consider enrolling in an established program offering sustainable design education. If transferring is not an option, Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s (MCAD) Sustainable Design Program (mcad.edu/sustainable) is an online program that allow students to fill-in eco-areas that are missing from their primary program.
Teaching Green: Sustainability Survey
Metropolis Magazine commissioned a third-party research company to conduct a survey of visitors to MetropolisMag.com. Surveys were gathered from design professionals, students, and educators.