by Julie Passantino, Gaia Intern
Are you interested in becoming more involved with sustainability? Want to turn it into a degree? Well now you can! UCSC is currently running a three year trial, 2014-2017, for a new Sustainability Studies minor provided through College Eight, so take advantage of it. There are many esteemed faculty, including Ronnie Lipschitz, Kevin Bell, Katie Monsen, Laurel Fox and more, who are involved with the minor and want to make it a great opportunity for the new era.
We are already facing climate change issues but within the next 50 years we will face additional issues of energy, water and food supply and storage. This minor will teach students about the rapidly changing economy, the environmental impacts of climate change, and the different types of technology and society that is needed to ensure a long sustainable future. It also will provide students with skills for use in government agencies, non-profit organizations, and small businesses.
The goal of this minor is to bring sustainability, classroom learning and research application, and service learning all together. It is designed to broaden the student’s’ knowledge along with expanding the students majors.
I am currently in the Sustainability minor and absolutely love it! I gain so much from the required classes that you wouldn’t normally learn from a classroom experience. This minor has allowed me to work at three different internships helping me to learn about the real world as well as myself. In the classroom, the main focus is not test based but rather how can we apply what we know to real life situations and what can we do about them. We look at issues such as the amount of car pollution being introduced to the environment and discuss green solutions. For example, a few proposed solutions we discussed to reduce the amount of cars were to encourage bikes, to build bike-only roads, offer a bonus at work or extra credit in class if rode bike, make them less expensive so that more people can afford them, and more. We take real problems and search for the alternatives then we determine if it is feasible to accomplish.
The curriculum is perfectly applicable for those who are interested. It consists of about eleven classes total with 37-42 units. It is doable to complete the minor in about a year which allows the students major classes to take priority. One of the required classes I took for this minor was CLEI 161, which was one of the best classes I have taken here at UCSC. From this class, I learned about how to live sustainability, how our past ancestors lived in the environment, and was able to learn about myself. It was worth 5 units with a weekly meeting Monday nights and a section that you chose at the beginning of the first class. The section I chose was called “Nature Connection and Rights of Passage” where every Tuesday and Thursday we would attend class outdoors, each time in a different location, and discuss our connection with nature and what can we do to help build a sustainable future. We would have class in Porter Meadow, by the Music Hall, the College Eight, Kresge and Stevenson gardens, Upper Campus and behind Colleges 9/10. It was a nice change from the usual structured classes that allowed for me to grow academically and personally.
If you are interested in becoming apart of the new sustainable era, check out the Sustainability Studies minor. It has something for every major.
For more information contact Ronnie Lipschitz, provost of College Eight and Sustainability Studies minor.