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Key Objective: 6.1 Broaden Sustainability Education

The iCAP 2020, objective 6.1 is: “Broaden the availability of sustainability education across the entire curriculum, beginning with first-year student orientation and continuing through commencement, with at least one of four proposed methods implemented by FY24.” The responsible campus unit for championing this objective is iSEE. Progress is tracked in the iCAP Portal project page for Broaden Sustainability Education.

Associated Metric

No metric specified for this objective

Explanation

When first-year and transfer students arrive at the university, they are introduced to a range of concepts that guide their approach to college life. These knowledge areas, which are both practical (e.g., MTD bus stop locations) and constructive (e.g., resume-writing best practices), should be augmented with a sustainability toolkit. 

To broaden sustainability education for all students, at least one of the following proposed mechanisms is to be implemented by FY24:

  1. First-year student sustainability seminar

We aim to develop a required educational program for all incoming students to introduce sustainability as early as possible. This seminar will introduce campus sustainability programs and iCAP projects and can be implemented in collaboration with individual colleges as part of first-year orientation seminars. We will report the total number of student participants each semester.

First-year student engagement is also a strategy outlined in the Zero Waste chapter (see Objective #5.3.1) to effectively communicate campus recycling best practices.
 

  1. Sustainability general education (GenEd) credit 

In order to implement a sustainability GenEd requirement, we must identify the appropriate department with whom to collaborate (i.e., General Education Board within the Office of the Provost). The Committee for Environmental Sustainability within Illinois Student Government (ISG) is investigating the prospect of including a sustainability GenEd credit for all students. 

  1. 100-level courses 

Several colleges offer 100-level courses designed to onboard students and ease the transition into college life. By FY24, we aim to integrate a sustainability unit into each of these courses. We will pilot this program through, as an example, sections of the Grainger College of Engineering and the College of LAS. Each course will include a lesson designed to expose students to the iCAP goals and introduce practical applications of sustainability learning. For example, how can students, as members of campus and of society, apply sustainable practices to their education and daily lives? 

Because a student studying civil and environmental engineering might encounter sustainability differently than an individual pursuing music performance, units will be allowed flexibility to tailor course content to their respective disciplines. Junior and senior students tasked with teaching these courses will receive appropriate training.

  1. Sustainability workshop

Creating a sustainability workshop with a catchy acronym (similar to FYCARE and ACE IT) would be beneficial because the instructors for such a workshop would likely be campus staff and faculty members who are passionate about sustainability efforts. 
This workshop, potentially named EARTH (Environmental Action Right This Hour), would be a one- or two-hour-long course focusing on campus sustainability and opportunities for student involvement. 

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