Student initiatives add to long standing history of sustainability efforts by the College.

Sustainability, green living, environmental footprint:  these concepts have mushroomed in global importance in recent years.

As issues surrounding sustainability continue to grow, those who have the knowledge and creativity to develop solutions that preserve our planet for future generations will be in great demand. A new, interdisciplinary major in sustainability at BW, the first of its kind in our geographic region, will prepare students to play vital roles in this important area.

 

 

Doing Well by Doing Good: BW Launches Ohio's First Sustainability Major

Ohio’s first undergraduate major in sustainability--a discipline to help identify effective development to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs—is being introduced this fall at Baldwin Wallace University.

Student Driven Interest
The new major is an outgrowth of both student interest and campus commitment to environmental responsibility. Since 2006 a campus Sustainability Committee, composed of students, faculty and staff, has coordinated and encouraged “green” practices at BW.  A number of recent graduates, including two in 2008, designed their own majors with a concentration on the topic.

Interdisciplinary Major
The interdisciplinary major, which includes study in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and business administration, recently received approval from the Ohio Board of Regents. Professors David Krueger (business) and Sabina Thomas (biology and geology) are the program co-directors.

“With no departmental ‘home,’ the sustainability major can equip our graduates to live, work and lead in a real world that often defies classic academic compartmentalization. Students will learn to become flexible, literate problem-solvers who can create real social change," said Krueger, holder of the Spahr Chair in Managerial and Corporate Ethics, and a major force behind the development of the sustainability major.

Six Components
The new major has six components: a mandatory introductory course; introductory core courses in the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities or business administration; an upper-level track in those same areas; an experiential component such as an internship with a corporation; a capstone course, and assignment and interaction with a local professional mentor. An external advisory council, whose members’ work and organizations are devoted to the sustainability movement, will lend their expertise and advice to enrich the program.

"As issues surrounding sustainability continue to grow, those who have the knowledge and creativity to develop solutions that preserve our planet for future generations will be in great demand,” said Thomas.

Campus Sustainability Efforts
BW already has made significant changes to reduce the environmental footprint of the campus.

  • A more than 40% reduction in our paper consumption

  • Installation of a composter that will take almost all food services food waste out of the waste stream

  • Installation of energy conservation technologies to reduce our electricity consumption (e.g., motion sensors in all classrooms by the end of 2008)

  • The use of biodegradable disposables in our food services

  • Capital funds toward the installation of a wind turbine to produce clean, renewable energy

  • An enhanced recycling system that has increased our recycling content by at least 500% in the last 2 years

  • A commitment to high performance, green building design in all future college building projects

  • Experimentation with conversion of used kitchen grease for the production of bio-diesel fuel for campus vehicles that we hope will result in near-term conversation of all kitchen grease into bio-diesel fuel for campus vehicles

  • Increased availability of bike racks around campus to discourage vehicle use

  • Adoption of "green" cleaning products for all campus buildings, with anticipated savings of over $100,000

  • First student residence hall in Ohio with geo-thermal heating and cooling

  • Exploration of conversation of an old residence hall into a "sustainability house" for students in Fall '09

  • Ohio's first undergraduate major in sustainability (fall '08)

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