Monday, October 4, 2010

Students Pursue Sustainable Development at DePaul

Student interest in issues surrounding sustainability is growing. The Sierra Club website, Cool Schools for 2010 quotes a Princeton Review survey in which “two-thirds of university applicants say that a school’s environmental report card would influence whether they’d enroll.”

DePaul is actively addressing the environmental impact of the University through programs designed to reduce the carbon footprint of the physical operation of the campus including; recycling programs, switching to more energy efficient lighting systems, replacing heating and cooling systems, maintaining a green roof and completing a certified Gold LEED building on the Lincoln Park Campus. DePaul is also addressing sustainability in the areas of transportation,lfood services and dorm life.

DePaul is not limiting efforts in sustainable development to the physical plant of the University. Interest in sustainability has moved DePaul to incorporate sustainable development into the curriculum and student life. At DePaul students can pursue their interests in sustainability in a number of ways including coursework, community outreach programs and student groups.


For Undergraduates, The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers an Environmental Science Program with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Sciences. The Environmental Science Department also maintains a helpful link with information about environmental jobs, careers and internships. The School of New Learning also offers courses for undergraduates that explore environmental sustainability including SW: 341 Ecology of Personal Life and for the fall 2010 term, a retreat style course SW: 315 Environmental Ethics and Sustainability, in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Kellstadt Graduate School of Business not only offers courses with sustainability as a central focus (including social entrepreneurship and sustainability) but the school also offers the option of a degree concentration in Sustainable Management. The Sustainable Management concentration encourages framing business strategy to incorporate environmental and social concerns.

Many of the courses the School of Public Service, SPS, incorporate issues of sustainable development into the curriculum including: 511 Sustainable Development and NGOs, 572 Urban Poverty, 571 Metropolitan Planning and 604 Environmental Policy, among others. Several of the Study Abroad opportunities in SPS have a strong focus on sustainable development including programs in Chiapas, Mexico, India, Kenya and the Philippines.

DePaul’s Continuing and Professional Education arm offers a Certificate in Sustainability Design and Construction as well as a Certificate in Sustainability in Business. These certificates are designed for the professional community. The Certificate in Sustainability Design introduces concepts and terminologies of green building and sustainability. The Certificate in Sustainability in Business presents concepts of sustainability practices and how they can impact the bottom line.


The Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning, the Steans Center is dedicated to involving students in community service projects. In 2009, The Steans Center developed a ten week undergraduate internship the HYPERLINK ""Environmental Stewardship Community Internship (ESCI) which focuses on urban agriculture and youth development.

Student Organizations:

A number of student organizations at DePaul University are engaged in activities surrounding not only environmental sustainability but also social, political and economic sustainability including;

DePaul Student Government’s Environmental Concerns Committee (ECC) promotes environmental awareness issues by sponsoring various programs as well as working with other student environmental groups and the DePaul Sustainability Initiatives Task Force (SITF).

DePaul Sci Club (Science Club) works with Chicago Public School teachers and students to increase math and science skills through tutoring and class activity programs.

Global Bridges at DePaul (an affiliate of Global Bridges Inc.) works to promote health and sustainable development in various countries including Honduras and Panama.

Outdoor Awareness Club’s aim is to increase environmental awareness through social activities, volunteer opportunities and presentations.

Oxfam America DePaul Chapter primary interests are advocacy surrounding issues of international social justice and poverty.

These are just a few of the many student organizations interested in promoting social and environmental sustainability, you can find more organizations listed in Demon Direct.

~Terri Williams

Photo Credit DePaul University website

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