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Environmental Literacy: A Lifelong Learning Approach. Claire Sweigart, J.D. Sustainability Coordinator Mary Beth McGrew, AIA Associate VP of Planning + Design + Construction and University Architect. Presentation Outline. Sustainability at UC Environmental Literacy Certificate Staff Track

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Environmental literacy a lifelong learning approach

Environmental Literacy: A Lifelong Learning Approach

Claire Sweigart, J.D.

Sustainability Coordinator

Mary Beth McGrew, AIA

Associate VP of Planning + Design + Construction and University Architect

Presentation outline
Presentation Outline

  • Sustainability at UC

  • Environmental Literacy Certificate

    • Staff Track

    • Student Track

  • Future Developments

Why environmental literacy
Why Environmental Literacy?

  • Everyone’s individual decisions have an impact

  • Sustainability conversation on campus is currently limited to small group

  • Broader engagement needed for real change on campus (behavioral and institutional)

Our goals
Our Goals

  • Raise awareness of UC’s sustainability priorities

  • Spur critical thinking and creativity

  • Behavior change

  • Peer outreach

  • Encourage participation in other events

Our guides
Our Guides

  • Environmental Literacy*

    • Understanding of the environment

    • Understanding of society’s impact on the natural world

    • Individual and collective actions towards addressing environmental challenges

      * Partnership for 21st Century Skills, http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework/830

  • Adult Education*

    • Include opportunities to interact and discuss

    • Allow for personalization and collaboration

    • Maintain physical and mental comfort in an informal atmosphere

      *Knowles, M. The Modern Practice of Adult Education; From Pedagogy to Andragogy. Cambridge, The Adult Education Company. NY. 1980.

Our approach staff
Our Approach – Staff

  • Staff Track

    • 9 monthly meetings each on a different topic

    • Participants selected from one department

    • Required to attend by supervisor in lieu of staff meeting

Staff track details
Staff Track Details

  • 1st Group: Housekeeping Supervisors

    • 22 participants ranging from age 19 to 56

    • Mostly African Americans who lived in urban areas

    • All had high school diploma, some had associates degree

    • Based on a preliminary questionnaire, we found a wide variety of opinions and behaviors on environmental topics and some foundation of environmental knowledge

Staff track sessions
Staff Track Sessions

  • 9 Meetings:

    • Introduction

    • Waste

    • Food

    • Soil & land use

    • Water

    • Energy

    • Chemicals

    • Consumption

    • Summary

  • Guest Presentations:

    • Hamilton County Solid Waste & Recycling District

    • Landscape Architect

    • Professors from Environmental Studies, Architecture, and Engineering

Staff track goals evaluation
Staff Track Goals & Evaluation

  • Our goals are to start a conversation, engage new participants, and change behaviors

  • A final questionnaire was administered to gauge results

Our approach students
Our Approach - Students

  • Student Track

    • 7 monthly meetings using NWEI discussion course book

    • Open to anyone

    • Required attendance at other events

Student track details
Student Track Details

  • Must attend:

    • 4 Lectures

    • 4 Film discussions

    • 5 Sustainability Suppers

    • 3 Volunteer activities

    • 4 More from any category

    • Total of 20 events (approx. 40 hours)

Student track details1
Student Track Details

  • Can be completed within 1 year, but there is no time limit

  • Open to students, staff, professors, community members, etc.

  • Online registration system

Student track goals
Student Track Goals

  • Further engagement with sustainability beyond mere passive attendance

  • Provide more substantial benefit to attending sustainability events

Future developments
Future Developments

  • Staff Track

    • Voluntary enrollment, but still focused on a narrow staff set

    • Refinement of guest presentations

    • Possible addition of 1 or 2 sessions for economics and policy

  • Student Track

    • Determine evaluation method

    • Partner formally with Environmental Studies Department

    • Engage more students from other disciplines

Contact info
Contact Info

Claire Sweigart

[email protected]

Mary Beth McGrew

[email protected]



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