Sustainable Millsaps: Developing Leaders for a Sustainable Future
Below are the questions asked of each Level 3 proposal. Scroll down below the horizontal line to see the answers.
Contact person: Debora Mann
Short description of the plan.
- This QEP proposes to broaden student learning in the area of sustainability and to prepare students as leaders capable of developing creative and constructive solutions to global environmental problems. Faculty, staff, and students have fostered an array of programs and classes in response to growing interest in sustainability, but these have been difficult to maintain from year to year. With the institutional recognition and support that comes with the QEP, these separate initiatives can be integrated into a coherent program with lasting and meaningful results.
- Examples of ways in which sustainability might be incorporated into existing programs as part of the QEP include:
- workshops for faculty who are interested in incorporating sustainability themes into new or existing courses
- an Art of Teaching session each year on a topic related to sustainability studies
- an annual Millsaps Forum on sustainability
- development of a living-learning community (similar to Wellspring) with a focus on sustainability
- information on recycling and other sustainability initiatives provided to new students during orientation as part of the Freshman Year Experience
- periodic selection of first-year summer reading focused on sustainability
- promotion of sustainability service in the community
- promotion of Millsaps' unique facilities in Yucatan as a model for sustainability
- development of a decision-making scheme that would involve advisement from a committee of faculty, students and staff charged with advancing campus sustainability
- establishment of an undergraduate Sustainability Intern program to equip students to serve as leaders in developing, communicating, and monitoring sustainable programming for the campus
- development of a web site added to the Millsaps domain in order to promote awareness of sustainability initiatives in campus life, service, campus operations, and academics at home and abroad.
What specifically would this plan require and how would it work?
- The Sustainable Millsaps QEP seeks to further develop interdisciplinary learning and foster student leadership skills by enhancing opportunities for students to explore sustainability solutions in the classroom, on the campus, and in the community. The QEP would increase Millsaps' offerings of courses that focus on sustainability by providing workshops and discussion sessions for faculty. In addition to academic coursework, the operation of the campus itself also offers the opportunity to explore and promote sustainable practices. The QEP would enable students to work with staff and faculty to research and implement more efficient ways to utilize the resources of the College. Community service, already a major strength of the College, offers additional learning opportunities for sustainability education. Finally, since communication and promotion are key to the effectiveness of new and established programs, the QEP will provide for the development of a Sustainable Millsaps web site to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on Millsaps' sustainability initiatives.
- The detailed components of the Sustainable Millsaps QEP proposal are as follows:
- A series of teaching workshops would be offered to provide support for faculty who wish to incorporate ideas of sustainability into their courses. Three such workshops offered over a period of 5 years is expected to be sufficient to accommodate interested faculty and to provide a meaningful impact on teaching and learning campus-wide. We would seek workshop leaders who are not only knowledgeable about sustainability education but also experienced in teaching in the liberal arts. Dr. Elizabeth MacNabb, Director of Programs in Sustainability and the Environment for the Associated Colleges of the South, would be an excellent resource for identifying potential workshop leaders among the faculty of the consortium, as she is familiar with the environmental programs and faculty at the member institutions and has been involved in the organization of various faculty workshops sponsored by the ACS. One of these workshops might be offered as part of the annual fall faculty conference.
- The Art of Teaching, sponsored by the Faith and Work Initiative, is a highly successful program of monthly, lunch-time faculty discussions on topics related to the vocation of teaching. At the discretion of the Faith and Work Director, one session per year would be devoted to some aspect of sustainability teaching. As always, the topic would be relevant to faculty from all three academic Divisions. Within the general theme of sustainability, the particular focus of the session would differ from year to year.
- Another component of the QEP would take part in the established Millsaps Forum program. At the discretion of the Public Events Committee, there would be an annual forum on some topic relating to the broad field of sustainability and the environment. Past forums that serve as examples of suitable topics for this purpose include a presentation by Melody Moody of Bike/Walk Mississippi and a presentation by Dr. Stan Galicki on his Ecological Design Course in the Kaxil Kiuic Reserve. These lectures and programs would increase the accessibility of the topics of sustainability and the environment to not only to students but also to the general public, faculty, and staff.
- To help facilitate campus initiatives and offer a unique learning experience for participating students a Sustainability Intern program is proposed. There will be three different positions with unique responsibilities under the supervision of an appropriate staff member working in direct observation of the interns.
- One intern will work with David Wilkinson and the Physical Plant, finding ways to enhance our current recycling program focusing on accessibility and promotion within the residence halls.
- The second intern will work on the Sustainable Millsaps Website, under the guidance of the Director of the Environmental Studies minor. This would include updating information about courses, service-learning opportunities and study abroad opportunities. Through the website, sustainable initiatives on campus could be highlighted and publicized. Another component of this position would be creating a Sustainable Millsaps Twitter account and tweeting articles and other points of information about sustainable ideas or programs on or outside our campus.
- The third intern would work with the Eco-Living/Learning Community, helping to facilitate the volunteer work of the participating students and to maintain continuity of the program. This intern's role would be separate from and in addition to that of the Resident Assistant. This intern will report to a to-be-determined Student Life employee. The arrangements for the supervision of this intern are an important part of the plan that has yet to be worked out. More details on the role of the intern are defined in the description of the Eco-Living/Learning Community.
- Each of the interns would help the others with his or her projects. The interns would be paid a competitive monthly stipend to ensure creative, yet responsible work is achieved. Ideally, the interns would be sent to a conference sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) or another comparable conference once during their tenure. These internships will be sought by dedicated leaders, who may stay in the position from the beginning of their sophomore year until their senior year. The opportunity to develop leadership skills while advancing campus sustainability will make these positions a unique and captivating work experience.
- To encourage incoming freshman to care for our campus space, an interactive workshop would be held during the Freshman Year Experience (FYE) Welcome Weekend that will let students know how recycling and waste reduction operates on our campus. This program will help to create new classes of scholars who treat their campus space responsibly, and will give students the tools to evaluate their own actions from a sustainable mindset. It will also introduce them to the ways they can get involved in ecological groups, research, and academic programs over their four years at Millsaps. One the Sustainability Interns will lead these workshops.
- In 2010, the College introduced a common summer reading for the entering freshman class. Last year's selection was Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, an anthology edited by Jon Meacham. After reading the book, students were asked to submit an essay on the role the individual can play in meaningful social change. At the discretion of the Writing Program Director and others involved in the selection of the common reading, a book that explores some aspect of sustainability would be chosen periodically. Such a reading assignment would prepare incoming students to join the developing conversation of sustainability they would meet upon entering campus in the fall.
- Sustainability service undertaken as part of a service-learning course, a group event, or on an individual basis allows knowledge to be gained and shared through practical experiences. This component of the QEP would strengthen our already respected service-learning program by increasing student knowledge and access to service-learning opportunities through the use of a new Sustainable Millsaps website. It would help campus organization to pursue more community volunteer opportunities with organizations such as the Tougaloo-Rainbow Garden, Jackson Inner-city Gardeners, the community garden at Brown Elementary, and Jackson Bike Advocates. Before class registration each semester, students could use the Sustainable Millsaps website to find courses with service-learning components. Also, study abroad options with an environmental focus would be available on the website for students to plan in advance for these opportunities.
- This QEP would also create a College Sustainability Committee with representation from students, faculty and staff. The goal would be to establish a centralized body to discuss and make suggestions that affect the environmental sustainability of the college. This would include short term as well as long-term projects. Possible representation on the committee might include:
- student members, for example the Leader of SBA Green Initiative, EARTH Club President, and one or more of the Sustainability Interns.
- faculty members, including a representative from each Division
- staff members, including the Director of the Physical Plant and representatives from Student Life and Communications, as well the appropriate representatives of the administration.
- The committee would benefit from the variety of perspectives afforded by its members. In order to use time effectively, some of the work might be accomplished by sub-committees. For the students on the committee, the experience of working with faculty and staff to advance the mission of the College would provide valuable lessons in leadership and in realistic decision-making.
- To further focus the efforts of the College towards sustainability, a webpage called Sustainable Millsaps would be created to provide information on courses, campus initiatives, and community engagement opportunities with a sustainability or environmental focus. These would be organized in three categories:
1. CLASSROOM ENGAGEMENT: This category brings together academic initiatives incorporating sustainability and/or the environment. Students will be able to access lists of courses offered by semester with sustainability or environmental themes. This will include the name, number, description and faculty contact information for each course to enable students to incorporate these courses into their planned schedules. The course lists will also include courses with a service learning focus on sustainability or the environment. Additionally, study abroad courses which feature a sustainability and/or environmental learning component will be featured. All study abroad courses in the Yucatan and especially at the Kaxil Kiuic Campus will be featured, because of these courses' unique place-centered opportunities. The current Environmental Studies minor will also be featured in this section with the variety of courses offered to fulfill this minor. Faculty may also use this section to find when the next environmentally focused Art of Teaching session or sustainability teaching workshop will be offered. Summer reading assignments with the sustainability focus will also be featured in this section.
2. CAMPUS ENGAGEMENT: This section would allow for students, and other members of the campus community to find opportunities for engagement with our campus. Whether that participation is attending a lecture, participating on the Campus Sustainability Committee or working on a campus project, these each have tangible learning benefits. The annual Millsaps Forum with themes of sustainability and the environment would be announced here. In the beginning, the Sustainability Interns positions will be advertised here and later their work may be presented. In addition, the Sustainability Intern for communication would be able to post sustainability campus initiatives through a Twitter account to alert the campus community to these efforts. Campus activities such as the EARTH Club or the SBA Green Initiative could also highlight projects and achievements in this section. Information from the incoming student Welcome Weekend workshops on campus sustainability could also be accessed here.
3. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: This component would include the Eco-Living/Learning Community as defined in that section as well as opportunities for students to engage or apply their learning in community service activities. While some of work of the living/learning community would be on-campus, there would also be off-campus outreach. These opportunities, which would be open to all students, could include but are not limited to: volunteering/fundraising for Jackson Inner-city Gardeners or working with the Habitat for Humanity weatherization program, the Tougaloo-Rainbow Garden, or the Mississippi Natural Science Museum. This section would also have a link to the 1Campus,1Community page to help students locate other service opportunities.
- This component of the QEP allows for the diverse sustainability initiatives being pursued by Millsaps students, faculty and staff in Jackson and abroad to be housed in a central and accessible virtual location. In addition to providing information to members of the Millsaps community, the Sustainable Millsaps site will afford the College the opportunity to present its interdisciplinary approach to environmental and sustainability education to a wider audience of prospective students and the academic world.
What would be the timeline for implementing each part of this plan?
- Spring 2012
- Sustainability Internships are announced, interested students apply and 3 interns are chosen
- Work is done toward preparing website in order to have preliminary launch during the summer
- Baseline food waste survey is performed (by volunteers)
- NESSE or NSSE-like survey is designed
- Sustainability interns selected, ready to begin work in fall
- Incoming freshman applying for Wellspring program are able to sign up for the sustainability sub-set of Wellspring (to work as the pilot program)
- Preliminary version of the Sustainable Millsaps website launched before pre-registration for incoming students begins - trial period to assess use of website
- Planning for first Art of Teaching session on sustainability in the fall
- Planning for Millsaps Forum on sustainability in the spring
- Wellspring students are selected; those who will have a sustainable focus in their community service will form the pilot program for the Eco-Living/Learning community:
- Sustainability interns begin work, one to work with David Wilkinson and one to work with implementation of website, one to begin work on Eco-Living/Learning Community
- interns attend AASHE sustainability conference
- FYE Welcome Weekend recycling info and orientation
- College Sustainability Committee convened for 2012-2013
- Art of Teaching session on sustainability
- Community service with environmental or sustainability-focused options are ongoing through the semester
- Friday Forum on sustainability topic
- Announcement of Eco-Living/Learning Community (January 2013, organized before housing selection in late February)
- Beginning discussion of summer reading - book for Summer 2013 is chosen
- Planning for faculty teaching workshop for 2013-2014
- Food waste survey is performed (organized by Interns)
- NSSE or NSSE-like survey is administered
- Sustainable Millsaps: full implementation of website
- implementation of summer reading
- planning for Art of Teaching in the fall
- planning for Millsaps Forum in the spring
Fall semester 2013
- late August (or alternative) faculty teaching workshop
- sustainability interns (3) begin work
- FYE Welcome Weekend recycling info and orientation
- full implementation of Eco-Living/Learning community which was initiated in the spring of 2013
- Sustainable Millsaps website offering information about courses and sustainable engagement opportunities; marketing component of website to highlight sustainable initiatives on campus and engagement by students and faculty
- College Sustainability Committee convened for 2013-2014
- Art of Teaching session on sustainability education
- Spring semester 2014
- Friday Forum with sustainability focus
- Sustainability interns continue to work
- Announcement of Eco-Living/Learning Community (January 2014, organized before housing selection in late February)
- Beginning discussion of summer reading - book for Summer 2014 chosen
- Planning for faculty teaching workshop for some time during academic year 2014-2015
- Food waste survey is performed (organized by Interns)
- NSSE or NSSE-like survey is administered
-Hereafter most events repeat annually, with the exception of the faculty teaching workshops, which will be held three times in five years.
What are the specific learning outcomes for this proposed QEP?
- Students would become more knowledgeable about sustainability practices at Millsaps, for example what can be recycled, where the bins are located, where to bring unwanted but usable items to be donated rather than discarding them at the end of the school year, etc.
- students would be more likely to recycle, as measured by the quantity of recyclable collected.
- students would waste less food, resulting in a decline in food waste in the cafeteria.
- students would use the Sustainable Millsaps website to find out about volunteer opportunities, events, courses, etc.
- students would me more likely than before to consider the ways in which their behaviors affect the environment.
- at least some students would come to view sustainability as one of the values guiding their decisions.
- some students would be empowered to take leadership in developing or promoting sustainable practices.
- students who have taken courses with a sustainability component would become more knowledgeable about sustainability as viewed through the respective disciplines.
- students would become better able to analyze environmental problems and think through potential solutions. We would expect that the skills they develop as part of the liberal arts education in critical thinking and communication could be applied to providing leadership in creative and collaborative problem-solving.
How might these learning outcomes be assessed?
- One form of assessment might be a survey given in the freshman year and again in the senior year, with questions regarding their knowledge, skills, behaviors and values as related to sustainability. If an appropriate NSSE consortium could be identified or established, this might even be done as part of the NSSE.
Questions might ask how well their coursework prepared them to understand specific sustainability issues (water quality, for example); how often they engaged in a discussion in class about sustainability; how often they engaged in a discussion outside of class about sustainability; how often they consider environmental sustainability when making a purchasing decision; how often they participate in recycling; how often they participate in service projects related to sustainability; whether they are considering careers relating to the environment or sustainability; whether sustainability is likely to be an important consideration in their decisions about transportation, housing or other lifestyle choices.
Changes in behaviors relating to recycling and food waste could be measured by tracking the quantity of recyclables collected (records of which are already being kept by David Wilkinson's office) and by measuring food waste in the cafeteria. As part of an environmental inventory of the campus, Dr. Jessica Piekielek's Environmental Anthropology class weighed the amount of food wasted in the cafeteria for one full day in the spring of 2010. This could serve as a baseline, with follow-up measurements organized by the Sustainability Interns. In order to ensure a fair comparison, this should be done in a systematic manner, for example, on same day of the week at approximately the same time of year and on a day with no unusual events that affect dining operations. To assure consistency of methods, the Interns could refer to the report of the environmental inventory, which is being placed in the library for future reference and is also available online at http://www.u.arizona.edu/~piekiele/waste.html. If the budget allowed for a $500 power meter, electricity in the building housing the living-learning community could be monitored as a means of assessing the effectiveness of education on energy conservation.
Use of the Sustainable Millsaps website could be measured by tracking the number of hits to the site.
The assessments described thus far address objective measures relating to changes in behaviors (recycling and food waste) as well as subjective measures of changes in behaviors, values, skills and/or knowledge as self-reported by students in the surveys. They do not include objective measures of knowledge and skills gained in individual courses as a result of the QEP. If it were deemed necessary to measure such course-specific knowledge and skills, we suggest a means by which this could be accomplished, albeit at additional expense. According to this scheme, the leaders of the teaching workshops could be asked to provide the participating faculty not only with ideas for incorporating sustainability into their courses but also with techniques for assessing the sustainability-related skills and knowledge gained in those courses. For example, they might illustrate the design of effective pre-test/post-test assessment tools. The participating faculty could then perform the assessments and submit a brief summary. Participation by faculty would, of course, be voluntary, and should be compensated by a stipend, hence the additional cost. We are not proposing this as part of the ideal QEP but mention it only as an option if data of this type were required.
What population of students would this proposed QEP affect?
- All incoming freshmen would be included in the orientation to sustainability at Millsaps during Welcome Weekend. Those who choose to take sustainability-related courses or who participate in other related activities would be affected to a greater extent. Ideally, the QEP would foster a campus-wide culture of care for our shared resources, which would extend to all students.
To what extent would this plan change amounts and expectations of faculty workload?
- This QEP would not require the hiring of new faculty nor would it require course releases. It would entail additional work for certain faculty members; this would be considered part of the duties and responsibilities of a faculty member and would not require additional compensation.
The Sustainability Committee would replace the current Environmental Issues Committee. Like the current Environmental Issues Committee, it would include faculty representatives from the three academic Divisions and therefore would not involve an additional committee assignment for faculty. However, since the Sustainability Committee would be given additional responsibilities, the workload of faculty on the Committee would increase. For example, planning and organizing the three teaching workshops for faculty will require significant faculty time The director the environmental studies minor and the faculty representatives on the Sustainability Committee could be expected to take on this responsibility.
The director of the environmental studies minor would also work closely with the Sustainability Intern responsible for updating information for the web site. This would require frequent meetings initially but later could be accomplished with a weekly meeting and frequent emails.
The addition of a sustainability-themed living learning community for students would best be implemented with the mentorship of a faculty advisor. The advisor would meet periodically with the students, perhaps monthly. The Sustainability Intern responsible for coordinating events and programming for this group of students would report to a Student Life staff member, but ideally faculty advisor would also communicate regularly with this Intern and would be available for additional guidance and support.
The sustainability-themed Millsaps Forums and Art of Teaching sessions could be arranged under the existing frameworks for those programs and would require no major additional demands on faculty time.
To what extent would this plan change amounts and expectations of staff workload?
- The development of an undergraduate Sustainability Intern program will require additional staff time to work closely with the interns and monitor their progress. After the first year of the QEP, each cohort of interns could help with the orientation of their successors, which would help somewhat to reduce the time demands on their supervisors.
Determining how the interns will be supervised is an important detail of this QEP that has yet to be fully worked out. One of the interns would work with David Wilkinson and the Physical Plant. Mr. Wilkinson has noted that although supervision of this intern would take time on his part, this could be offset if the intern assisted with investigating cost-saving options for campus operations. Maintaining the physical plant and preparing the campus for special events leave him with less time than he would like for gathering and analyzing information on equipment and practices that could save costs on utilities and maintenance in the long run. If some of this research could be accomplished by the intern, it would save him time while saving resources for the College.
The promotion of community service focused on sustainability will require coordination with potential partners in the community such as non-profit organizations and community gardens. The 1Campus 1Community staff are recognized for the important role they play in establishing relationships between Millsaps and community organizations and in matching Millsaps volunteers with community partners. If this QEP results in a greater interest sustainability service, the 1C1C staff may be asked more often for assistance in locating service opportunities with a focus on sustainability.
The development and frequent updating of the Sustainable Millsaps web page will require substantial time on the part of staff of the Office of Communications and Marketing. Web manager Lucy Molinaro has been gracious in her willingness to add this information so long as the content is provided to her.
The establishment of a Sustainability Committee with greater staff representation than on the existing Environmental Issues Committee also require additional staff time.
How does this plan further the mission of the college? Benefit our students? Why does the college need this plan?
- Our students face a world with a growing human population that places increasing pressures on natural resources. In order to deal with global environmental challenges in creative and constructive ways, they will need to develop the skills of reasoning, communication, historical consciousness, and social and cultural awareness that form the foundation of a Millsaps education. All disciplines, from the natural and social sciences to business and the humanities, have much to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions to global problems. Because such problems are multifaceted, students can best prepare to solve them by acquiring the broad educational background that is the hallmark of a liberal arts education.
Not only will students need to learn to think across disciplinary boundaries but they will also need to think beyond national boundaries to understand global environmental issues. Our strong and growing international program will play an integral role in developing the global perspectives that our students will need as they seek to chart a path toward sustainability.
Effective leadership will also be necessary to implement sustainable solutions to global challenges. Part of the purpose of Millsaps College (p. 4 of the 2010-2011 College Catalog) is "to provide a learning environment that increases knowledge, deepens understanding of faith, and inspires the development of mature citizens with the intellectual capacities, ethical principles, and sense of responsibility that are needed for leadership in all sectors of society." Millsaps has a strong tradition of preparing students to serve as leaders, an effort which extends throughout the College from the academic program to Student Life and to special programs including the Faith and Work initiative and 1Campus 1Community. With its emphasis on creative problem solving, leadership development, and the cultivation of citizens who can think beyond geographical and disciplinary boundaries, Millsaps is ideally suited to develop leaders for a sustainable future.
Are there other programs already on campus that this proposed QEP would augment or replace?
- The QEP would take advantage of number of existing programs at the College. It would contribute one session annually to the Art of Teaching program sponsored by the Faith and Work Initiative. It would request that the Public Events committee reserve one Forum per year for a presentation relating to the theme of sustainability. This would not seem to be a problem inasmuch as the Public Events committee has recently selected several Forums with sustainability themes. Likewise, it would request that a book relating to sustainability be selected periodically for the freshman common reading.
The QEP would add to information presented to freshmen during Welcome Weekend orientation. The extent to which this might affect the schedule for this weekend has not been thoroughly explored.
- The three faculty teaching workshops would be a new addition to our offerings for faculty and would not affect any existing programs.
The Eco-Living/Learning Community would start out as a small pilot program under the current Wellspring Living/Learning Community, but will exist on its own after the first year. The Eco Living/Learning community will work with and not replace the Wellspring program.
The Sustainability Intern Program will be a new program that will help maintain the momentum of other programs including the existing recycling program and the proposed EcoLiving/Learning Community
The promotion of sustainability-based community engagement and service will complement the current efforts on campus towards community engagement led by the 1Campus,1Community initiative.
The College Sustainability Committee will replace the current Environmental Issues Committee. Like the current Environmental Issues Committee, it will have faculty members from all three academic Divisions but it will have broader representation from students and staff.
The Sustainable Millsaps website will augment Millsaps' current website by providing information not currently easily accessible.
What are the cost estimates for implementing this plan?
- The introduction of a "Sustainability in the Classroom" discussion to the Art of Teaching series once per year requires payment for 30-40 faculty members' lunch in the Cafeteria, as this is the average attendance for this series. At the current rate of $6.15 per person, lunch for 40 people would cost $246.00 per year or $1230 over the five-year term.
A faculty workshop occurring 3 times over the course of the program would require an honorarium and travel expense and costs for food and supplies at the workshop. As described by the Director of the ACS Programs in Sustainability and the Environment, an appropriate honorarium for a visiting speaker from within ACS schools would be $500-1000 plus travel expenses. With a total budget of $2000 per event, this would be $6000 over the five-year term.
The addition of an information session for incoming freshmen during orientation is not likely to incur any additional expense; however, it would be ideal to provide funds for Interns to attend informational conferences, such as the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. This particular conference is in the moderate range of this type of event and charges a $100 registration fee for students. With the addition of $600 for travel expenses each, this would mean $700 per Intern for three Interns. That would cost $2100 per year. Over the five-year term, this would be $10,500.
Ideally, we could bring a speaker to campus to present information to the entire campus community two or three times over the five-year term, particularly after the initial year. As described by the Director of the ACS Programs in Sustainability and the Environment, an appropriate honorarium for a visiting speaker from within ACS schools would be $500-1000 plus travel expenses. With a total budget of $1250 per event, this would be $3750 over the five-year term.
Ideally, a $500 power meter would be purchased for the EcoLiving-learning community to monitor the effectiveness of energy saving education in the program. For purposes of group meals and programming, $500 per year. This is $2500 over the five-year period.
An annual "Sustainable" Friday Forum would require an honorarium of roughly $150.00, but that is already incorporated in the Friday Forum program.
The undergraduate Sustainability Intern program would pay a $1638 stipend to each intern (based on $9 per hour, 6.5 hours per week, 28 weeks per year). For three interns this would cost $4914 per year. Over the span of the program, there would be 15 interns, which would cost $24,570 over the term of the program.
The idealized plan would therefore cost an estimated $49,050 over the five-year term (averaging $11,510 per year).
If the College were to hire a part-time Director of Sustainability (at least $15,000 per year) to oversee the sustainability program, this would incur a greater costs but would provide a more effective and institutionally established model for the program overall. This position also has the potential to reduce college spending by such means as increasing energy efficiency and centralizing purchasing. If a director were hired after the first year of the program, the total cost of the program would be $113,640 or $27,658 per year.
In order to meet the student-learning goals for this proposal, the most pared down version of the program would still need to include these essential parts: Sustainable Interns ($24570), the Art of Teaching addition ($1,230), and teaching workshops ($6000). The overall program costs would then be $31,800 ($6360 per year). This would eliminate the funding for Intern travel, extra speakers, and meals and the power meter the living-learning community.
What does the research literature suggest about the benefits of this kind of plan?
- The literature review can be found in Appendix I (below).
Are there other programs like this elsewhere and what have been their results? Are there best practices?
- Sustainability has become a prevalent topic at colleges across the country and is often seen to directly reflect the values and innovation of an institution. Attached is a "sustainability profile" of each college in the SCAC and ACS, which gives greater depth into the commitment these schools have made to changing their own institution, their educational programs, and campus programming to incorporate environmental stewardship. The specific elements of our proposal have been implemented at a number of these schools and are described herein:
- - Faculty education has been a key factor in the programs at many schools. Centenary College has included faculty in its energy saving campaigns for the last two years, as they make up as much of the college's potential and obstacles as do students. Also, the websites have provided a great deal of education for faculty and staff on campuses that have a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.
- A sustainability orientation session for incoming freshmen has been implemented at Furman University. Campus education programs on sustainability for all students have been implemented at the majority of these schools.
- A sustainability-themed living-learning community has been established at several colleges in our conference and the ACS. They are implemented in nearly the way our proposal has envisioned.
o Colorado College offers students the opportunity to living in "Synergy House", a "living, learning community striving to be a center for applied environmental education, awareness, and action
o Hendrix College's EcoHouse provides a space for 6 residents who commit to environmental projects over the course of the year. They serve as the role model to the campus for green living practices.
o At the University of Richmond's "Earth Lodge," interested students live together and take classes on the environment in Lakeview Hall, which was designed using LEED standards and is currently seeking certification.
- Undergraduate Sustainability Interns have been a part of some of the strongest programs we can compare our efforts to:
o Centre College has a full-time Recycling Coordinator on staff.
o DePauw currently has two undergraduate Sustainability Interns in the Office of Sustainability and full-time post-Baccalaureate Assistant Director of Sustainability.
o The Bank of America Sustainability Fellowship provides a renewable $7000 fellowship to incoming Furman students engaged in sustainability-related projects on campus and the Greenville, South Carolina community. Furman brings one fellow to campus each year who demonstrates leadership in sustainability. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded four student fellows working in sustainability on campus for a one year term in 2010. Of these four students one served as student manager for the Furman farm, another developed a sustainability volunteer network, a third created a sustainability information session for first-year student orientation, and the fourth assisted in starting "Sustainable Connections", the umbrella organization connecting sustainability-related groups on campus.
o Washington and Lee University pays student workers to manage their composting program.
- The promotion of community service focused on sustainability is present in some form at all the schools with an academic program for environmental studies but are best modeled by programs such as:
o Birmingham-Southern College has a paid internship program for students interested in working with environmental organizations.
o Furman University has recently been granted $50,000 to help educate and reform small businesses practices for greater sustainability through their sustainability outreach program.
o The University of Richmond coordinates summer and semester internships for students in the environmental field.
- The development of a Sustainability Committee is a key part of sustainability programs across the board.
o Colorado College's Campus Sustainability Council meets every block to discuss current campus environmental issues and consists of faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, and community members.
o Davidson College's Sustainability Council, made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, was established to assist the President in prioritizing the college's environmental direction.
o Furman University's Sustainability Planning Council (SPC) is made up of 124 faculty, staff, and students.
o Hendrix's Sustainability Committee Members include three students, three faculty members, the Vice-President for Business and Finance, Director of Facilities, Director of Media Relations, and Dean of Students.
o The voting members of the Oglethorpe University Sustainability Initiative include: at least one representative from the Board of Trustees' Buildings and Grounds Committee appointed by that committee's Chairperson, the Provost, the Vice President for Business and Finance, the Director of the Physical Plant, a Chairperson appointed from the staff or faculty by the Provost, the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement or a designee from their staff, and the current president of the ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Oglethorpe Students) or a designee from that organization.
o Rhodes College's "Environmental Planning Cooperative" consists of faculty, staff, administrators, and students.
o Trinity's Sustainability Committee is comprised of five faculty, two students, the Director of Physical Plant, Director of Dining Services, Director of Residence Life, and a Representative from the Office of University Communications.
o At the University of Richmond, the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) is a committee made up of faculty, staff, and students, devoted to raising awareness and educating the campus about environmental issues.
- The addition of a "Sustainable Millsaps" section to the website has a precedent with nearly every school. Every school has at least posted information about a recycling program. Excellent examples of schools with sustainability websites that are well-maintained and informative are: Centre College, Colorado College, Davidson College, Furman University, Hendrix College, Sewanee: The University of the South, The University of Richmond, Trinity University, and Washington and Lee University.
Appendix 1: Preliminary Literature Review
Appendix 2: Other Schools with Similar Programs