EN 103 - The Sustainable University
Urgency for the societal need to promote a sustainability transition is increasing as risks associated with climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and other types of environmental degradation are increasingly threatening human well-being in complex ways. This course explores both the theory and practice of sustainability and sustainable development by examining the role of the university in promoting a sustainability transition. The role of universities in society involves more than providing formal course instruction for enrolled students; universities are also critical places of discovery and innovation, centers for political discourse, and catalysts for political action. This course focuses on sustainability at the university because institutions of higher education have unique potential to catalyze and/or accelerate a sustainability transition. In addition, the focus on the university provides a lens for examining how institutions with complex structures make a myriad of decisions with environmental consequences, a context for considering the broad role of education in sustainable development, and a framework and perspective with direct and personal connections for students to consider the challenges of promoting sustainability. In addition to reading and writing about theoretical perspectives on sustainability, social change, organizational change, and the role of the university in promoting a transition to a more sustainable society, students engage directly with the practical challenges associated with promoting sustainability through team projects focused on the Clark University campus and the Worcester community.