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Sustainable Millsaps

More and more colleges are embracing sustainability as an academic and an operational mission. These schools have found that working towards sustainability improves their campus image, reduces their operational costs, and draws a generation of students who are increasingly environmentally conscious. A 2009 Princeton Review survey showed that one quarter of high school students applying to colleges said that a college's commitment to environmental issues would strongly influence their assessment of a college.*

Integrating sustainability into academic programs also better prepares students to face growing global environmental concerns in creative and constructive ways. Millsaps faculty, staff, and students have made small steps towards improving sustainability on campus, including recycling, conducting campus sustainability assessments, and donating surplus cafeteria food to Gleaners, a local food bank. Unfortunately, without administrative support or a process of institutionalization, few initiatives have continued year to year.

This QEP proposal proposes to integrate environmental sustainability into existing curricular and co-curricular programs at Millsaps in ways that would not require significant funding increases, but together would demonstrate Millsaps' commitment to sustainability. Millsaps is ideally situated to explore what it means to pursue sustainability with limited resources, now especially relevant for many colleges and highly relevant in the state of Mississippi.

Examples of incorporating sustainability into existing programs could include:

  • a permanent sustainability living-learning community (similar to the Wellspring model)
  • a designated annual Friday Forum on sustainability
  • development of a student work-study sustainability position
  • periodic selection of a first-year summer reading focused on sustainability
  • promotion of sustainability service within existing academic and co-curricular service programs (e.g. volunteering/fundraising for Jackson Inner-city Gardeners, Habitat for Humanity weatherization program, Tougaloo-Rainbow Sustainable Garden, and the Mississippi Natural Science Museum)
  • summer workshops for faculty on incorporating sustainability themes into existing classes
  • promoting/highlighting Millsaps "campus" at Kaxil Kiuic as a model for sustainability
  • development of a decision-making scheme that would involve advisement from an faculty/student/staff environmental committee charged with increasing sustainability in campus operations

The aim of these curricular and co-curricular programs would be to expose students to a range of ideas and potential projects in sustainability. Sustainability studies, as part of a liberal arts education, can help prepare students to be environmentally literate, global citizens.
 
*Princeton Review

Contact person:  Jessica Piekielek

For a PDF of the proposal, click here.


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