Loading in 2 Seconds...
Loading in 2 Seconds...
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
Understanding, teaching, and influencing campus sustainability from a systems perspective Oct. 10, 2011 AASHE 2011 Stephen Posner Sustainability Fellow/Eco-Reps Coordinator Office of Sustainability Anna Mika Sustainability Fellow Office of Sustainability University of Vermont (UVM)
Course history How are decisions with environmental impacts made within the University? • Environmental Management Systems (2006-2008) • 6 - 8 upper class students • Taught by UVM staff involved in campus environmental programs • SL: Campus Sustainability (2009-2011) • Over 20 primarily 2nd and 3rd year students • Taught by UVM staff and graduate fellows • Listed as Service-Learning course in sustainability studies track of Environmental Program
Collaboration at multiple levels • Ongoing campus greening work: • Greening UVM • Tracking UVM • Cooling UVM? • Middle management interest in sustainability • Upper management support of UVM as “Environmental University” • Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS)
2010 Course focus • Two Service-Learning Courses: • ENVS 195 “Campus Sustainability” • Operations • CDAE 295 “Sustainable Development Policy” • Planning, Administration & Engagement • Preliminary research and formulating questions • Helped the Office of Sustainability and instructors focus the students • Interviews and write-up of credits • Development of professional skills for students ?
2010 Course focus • STARS Systems Thinking • Visualization of potential credits for UVM
2011 Course focus • Multi-media learning • Field trips • Presentations • Group activities • Technical topics included in 2011 • Environmental aspects and impacts as defined by STARS • Climate action planning and GHG accounting • Systems thinking • Teachers’ expertise • environmental management systems • ecological economics • GHG accounting and climate action planning • campus sustainability
Systems thinking • Donella Meadows, especially Leverage Points • Conceptual system dynamics applied to campus • Viewed whole systems related to specific aspects of campus sustainability • Within university • Between university and environmental and social contexts
Environment Matter Matter Campus Campus Energy Energy • Optimal scale Environment Campus Campus Environment Extraction Waste
Student reflections: Mind Map by Caylin McKee Focus on waste Relationships with other aspects Connection to personal experience
Student reactions to unit on systems thinking • Systems was most, and least, liked part of course • Not the way we usually teach • Comes naturally to some, more difficult for others • Low turnout at first systems class • Need common definition • Different backgrounds and perspectives • Define our purpose and questions first
Challenges to systems approach and recommended solutions • Intermediate course that does not fit into traditional academic subjects • Develop two campus sustainability classes: one intro, one advanced focusing on intervening in systems • Different kinds of thinking and learning required • Natural systems thinkers; those who find systems difficult • Systems squeezed into just 2 classes • Integrate better throughout course
Strengths to systems approach • Applied learning in immediate environment • Awareness of how we are part of university system • Leverage points offer opportunities for strategic change • Connections among students, staff, and administrative decision-makers • Courageous and creative (re)design of campus sustainability solutions
Main points • Characterizing universities as complex systems makes sense • Systems thinking can be used to identify leverage points for change and to evaluate sustainability programs • Teaching with systems thinking can help students • see relationships • understand system behavior • more effectively act as agents of change
Understanding, teaching, and influencing campus sustainability from a systems perspective Thank You Questions?