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Sustainability apprenticeships : Teaching sustainable living through on-campus service/action learning - an Action Research project. Almut Beringer , PhD University of Prince Edward Island, Canada United Nations Decade Education for Sustainable Development Conference

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Sustainability apprenticeships:Teaching sustainable living through on-campus service/action learning- an Action Research project

Almut Beringer, PhD

University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

United Nations Decade Education for Sustainable Development Conference

Committing Universities to Sustainable Development

Graz, Austria 20-23 April 2005

the context prince edward island canada
The context - Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • ‘Anne of Green Gables’ country
  • smallest Canadian province
  • appr. 140-142,000 inhabitants
  • Altantic Canada, Maritimes - poverty, high unemployment rate, high rates of obesity, teenage pregnancies, etc.
  • intensive potato farming, fishing, tourism
university of prince edward island
University of Prince Edward Island
  • only university on PEI, only campus in Charlottetown
  • undergraduate liberal arts college
  • faculties: Arts, Science, Business, Education
  • appr. 4000 students, 200 faculty
  • senior management:

President’s office

3 VPs: Research & Development

Academic Dev’t

Finance & Facilities ~ Fac. Mgm’t

environmental studies @ upei
Environmental Studies @ UPEI
  • since 2001, in Faculty of Arts
  • interdisciplinary and cross-faculty minor program
  • 4 core subjects:

ENV 201 Intro to Env’al Studies

ENV 202 Intro to Sustainability (since 2004/’05)

ENV 301 Integrating Theory and Practice

ENV 311 Climate Change

  • cross-faculty subjects

e.g., Conservation Biology; Env’al Chemistry; Ecology, Religion & Spirituality; Env’al Philosophy, Env’al Economics

campus sustainability @ upei
Campus sustainability @ UPEI
  • Energy Awareness Committee, since Oct. 2004
  • CDN$ 800,000 retrofit project
  • Director of Env’al Studies and Sustainability

-- position advertised June 2004, filled to semester 2, 2004/’05 (1 January 2005)

-- three-year contract

-- 50% Env’al Studies, 50% greening the campus

-- academic faculty position to ‘green the campus’ unique in Canada/in the world?

sustainability on pei the context
Sustainability on PEI - the context
  • Ch’town 30,000 inhabitants - no public transit system -- only provincial capital in Canada + only Canadian city of this size not to have a transit system
  • over-fishing, surplus supply of potatoes, decline in tourism
  • some env’al issues:

-- pesticide contamination of groundwater - highest risk of cancer in Canada

-- GE crops - grown for appr. 20 years, Parliamentary Inquiry 2005

-- status quo vs. environmentalism + innovation

  • potential for nature tourism/ecotourism
sustainability @ upei the context
Sustainability @ UPEI - the context
  • energy costs CDN$ 2.7 mio/a, rising
  • parking pressures (growing enrolments)
  • transport
  • limited space/pressures on remaining green space (need for additional indoor space)
  • all remaining green space is ‘unnatural’
  • single-sided photocopiers and printers; styrofoam; non-local, non-organic food; lack of bike parking; etc., etc., etc.
  • homogenous campus community (mostly Islanders)
  • low student activism (?commuter campus)
  • [outdated IT, limited library resources]
env 202 sustainability apprenticeships
ENV 202 Sustainability apprenticeships
  • ~ trades apprenticeships: on-the-job learning; skills, knowledge, values via practical work + theory lectures
  • campus as a learning laboratory
  • ‘greening the campus’ projects
  • semester 2, 2004/’05: campus sustainability audit, producing a benchmarking document
  • --> Sierra Youth Coalition Greening the Ivory Towers Project [Academia to Action Project - A2A],

www.syc-cjs.org/gitp

sierra youth coalition syc
Sierra Youth Coalition (SYC)
  • youth branch of Sierra Club of Canada
  • financially independent --> foundations, grants

e.g., One-Tonne-Challenge

  • Academia to Action Project (A2A):

-- students for students

-- national coordinator (Ottawa) + regional coordinators (B.C., Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada [AC])

-- Coalition Partner --> logistical/project support

  • other campaigns, e.g.,

annual national campus sustainability conference

  • www.syc-sjc.org
syc a2a csaf
SYC A2A - CSAF
  • Campus Sustainability Assessment Framework (CSAF)
  • from a 2003 Royal Roads University, B.C. Master’s thesis (Delphi technique, Lindsay Cole)
  • comprehensive, holistic, systematic campus sustainability audit tool
  • used on many Canadian campuses
  • Concordia University, Montreal 2002-2004, http://web2.concordia.ca/sustainability
  • www.syc-sjc.org/resources
syc a2a csaf continued
SYC A2A - CSAF (continued)
  • ecosystem plus human system indicators
  • 10 sections, 170 indicators total, incl benchmarking figures

-- 5 ecosystem sections:

land, air, water, materials, energy

-- 5 human system sections:

community, health & well-being, knowledge, economy & wealth, governance

  • missing: transport
syc a2a csaf continued12
SYC A2A - CSAF (continued)
  • 2-year project:

1st year: assessment

2nd year: recommendations, projects, action

  • student volunteers
csaf @ upei
CSAF @ UPEI

• only university where CSAF initiated by a faculty member

  • 1st Atlantic Coordinator, 1st CSAF for AC
  • 1st time CSAF used as a teaching tool
  • 40 students (2nd - 4th year), 10 groups of 4
  • 13-week semester, 1 month of research
  • lectures + small group + individual consultations
  • worksheets to facilitate project planning & mgm’t
  • research journals to document learning
  • extensive debrief & evaluation
csaf @ upei continued
CSAF @ UPEI (continued)
  • experiment: did it succeed?
  • oral presentations suggest lots of data have been gathered in short time
  • awaiting student research reports
  • analysis of research journals outstanding to date
  • excellent support from/cooperation with SYC Atlantic Coordinator
beyond the csaf greening u pei
Beyond the CSAF - greening U/PEI
  • summer 2005: AB + student assistant? to compile 10 section reports into UPEI campus sustainability benchmarking document, to be available on www.syc-cjs.org/resources
  • further integrating Env’al Studies + greening the campus, + greening PEI
  • ENV 311, 2005/’06: recommendations + projects

e.g., sustainable transport ~ research U-Pass

  • ? $$ for 2 student positions --> UPEI Campus Sustainability Office
  • ? 2006 SYC campus sustainability conference
contact details
Contact details

Dr. Almut Beringer

Director of Environmental Studies and Sustainability

Faculty of Arts

University of Prince Edward Island

550 University Ave.

Charlottetown, PEI C1A 4P3

Phone: +1 902 566 0509

Fax: +1 902 566 0304

e-mail: aberinger@upei.ca