Susan Allen-Gil has recently been granted $900 from the Humanities and Sciences' Ithaca Fund for the project entitled, "Building Sustainability", for 2004.
As an outgrowth of the Ithaca College-EcoVillage teaching partnership that began in 2002, we propose the development of a monthly faculty-student discussion group on sustainability that would meet during the lunch hour or late afternoon.
Through previous Faculty Development Colloquiums (February and September 2003), we have brought together faculty from diverse departments that share an interest in sustainability. We likewise brought together 30-40 interested local leaders in government, academia, business, non-profit, and environmental organizations through an off-campus sustainability presentation (September 2003).
We believe that maintaining these connections among IC faculty, and between IC and the local community, are critical to future curriculum and community service efforts in this area. We also believe that student involvement in this dialogue and process would be extremely valuable to the students and to the group as a whole.
Thus, our primary objective is to fertilize the exchange of information and ideas regarding sustainability theory and practice among students, faculty, and staff at IC, and invested members of the local community, including EcoVillage.
We propose to do this by convening six monthly sustainability discussion groups (three in spring 2004 and three in fall 2004). The moderator position will rotate among key participants, allowing each to pick a specific reading to be discussed or invite a member of the community to speak to the group about the sustainability projects in which they are involved locally. The funds would be used in the following way: $600 for guest speaker fees and outside moderators ($100 per session) and $300 for food ($50 per meeting to entice students).
We expect that this program would have several projected outcomes:
- Increased student-faculty interactions in a non-course setting,
- Increased interaction between IC (especially students) and the local community, and
- Increased size and strength of network of members of the IC community interested in sustainability.
We hope that this program has the potential to lay groundwork for developing a community service course, "Projects in Sustainability," and a proposed interdisciplinary minor in sustainability within the Environmental Studies Program.
This project addresses two of the three areas of scope targeted by the H&S Ithaca Fund. This discussion group enhances teaching and learning in several different courses as faculty from six departments (biology, physics, economics, writing, politics, and anthropology) within H&S have undertaken efforts to incorporate sustainability into their courses through a course development program that the IC-EVI grant offered last summer. We anticipate that these faculty members would all continue participation in such a discussion group. Secondly, this project fosters faculty/student interaction in a way that would likely develop into community-based collaborative student/faculty research projects.
Contributed by Nancy Pierce