SUST 390 Preview: The Sustainable Campus (Spring 2016)

Following up on Roosevelt’s campus-wide strategic sustainability planning effort in 2015, the SUST Program will offer a SUST 390 honors seminar entitled The Sustainable Campus this coming Spring 2016 semester. Taught by SUST Program Director and Professor Mike Bryson, the class will meet at the Chicago Campus on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 4:30pm, and begins January 20th, 2016. Pre-requisites: ENG 102 and Honors standing.

The Sustainable Campus: More than Just a Cool Building

RU's distinctively blue Wabash Building (constructed 2012), a LEED-gold structure that complements the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Building (foreground) at the downtown Chicago Campus.

RU’s distinctively blue Wabash Building (constructed 2012), a LEED-gold structure that complements the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Building (foreground) at the downtown Chicago Campus.

What are colleges and universities doing to make themselves more sustainable institutions? How can their efforts serve as laboratories for innovation and models for larger communities, from small college towns to sprawling suburbs to bustling big cities? What have Roosevelt University and other area institutions accomplished the last few years in creating more sustainable campuses, and where are they headed in terms of sustainability planning, operations, academics, and community relations?

This seminar focuses on the microcosm of the university as a lens through view to explore how communities are striving to save energy, conserve water, reduce waste, encourage active transportation, restore biodiversity, foster environmental literacy, develop innovative curricula, and connect with local communities. Seen in this context, the Sustainable Campus is always a work in progress, yet has the capacity to model sustainable development strategies that may be applied to communities large and small (such as the suburb of Schaumburg IL, the focus of the RU student online project, Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future).

SUST students planting trees at Eden Place Nature Center, Chicago's South Side, 2 Dec 2014  (M. Bryson)

SUST students planting trees at Eden Place Nature Center, Chicago’s South Side, 2 Dec 2014 (M. Bryson)

Making the Plan Real

While we will analyze case-studies of other US colleges and universities that are well on the path toward sustainability, this section of SUST 390 will concentrate on Roosevelt’s efforts since 2010 to green its operations and curriculum, which last year included a series of university-wide sustainability planning workshops during the Fall 2014 semester. As a follow-up to the approval of RU’s Strategic Sustainability Plan in Spring 2015 and the submission of RU’s first STARS self-assessment in Fall 2015, our class will undertake several student-led projects to advance the plan’s priority initiatives in its four thematic areas:

    RU honors students in SUST 240 Waste conduct a waste audit of RU's AUD and WB buildings, fall 2014 (M. Bryson)

    RU honors students in SUST 240 Waste conduct a waste audit of RU’s AUD and WB buildings, fall 2014 (M. Bryson)

  • Energy and Climate
  • Waste and Natural Resources
  • Education and Outreach
  • Economics and Governance

Students in SUST 390 The Sustainable Campus thus will get an in-depth and hands-on perspective on the university’s sustainability efforts and, through their project planning and implementation, make an important and lasting impact in helping the university realize its vision of becoming a more sustainable institution, both inside its walls and throughout its connection with Chicagoland communities.

For more information on this upcoming course, please contact Dr. Mike Bryson via email (mbryson@roosevelt.edu) or phone (312-281-3148).

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