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Sustainability and College Campuses

Sustainability is a concept sweeping college campuses. This theme comes after diversity became a well accepted practice first implemented during the 1990s. The excitement for sustainability has affected campus areas such as offices, dorms, faculty lounges, and dining halls. Today, the term sustainability not only covers issues involving the environment and clean water matters but also social justice. The movement is geared toward changing political, economic, and social structures. The ideology of sustainability is to encourage all those who are a part of campus life to view the world differently. This encouraged worldview takes place in the form of classes and full degree programs. For example, Cornell University teaches a course in “The Ethics of Eating”.

The idea of sustainability often means changing small habits for the greater good. Some things that students are encouraged to do to make these changes may include taking shorter showers or refraining from eating meat at least one day per week. St. John’s University in Minnesota push sustainability by placing emphasis on economy, environment, and equity when instructing students. This particular school also aims to become carbon-neutral in the next twenty years by making a few adjustments in daily living. By spending money on alternative energy and changing energy sources, this goal can be reached. These practices are incorporated in student’s academic experiences by presenting the idea with exercises in freshman orientation and then having the seniors take a sustainability literacy assessment.

Many students are attracted to the idea of sustainability on their college campuses because it provides them a sense of meaning and purpose. It gives students a chance to exercise moralistic behavior that has the power to restore and restructure the Earth. The element of community is also a desirable aspect of participating in sustainability efforts. A debatable thought related to sustainability may include its close relation to religious practices. Some refer to the practice as the Church of Sustainability which hails its themes from Judeo-Christianity.

To learn more about sustainability on college campuses visit the Star Tribune here.

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