For the 2013-14 academic-year, Albion College focuses its collective attention on sustainability as part of an interdisciplinary education that is designed for those who will be engaged in solving today’s and tomorrow’s social, environmental and economic challenges.
Sustainability is most often associated with “environmental” issues, but sustainability education and practice at Albion College is much more than buying local produce or constructing LEED certified facilities (although we do those things, too.) Albion College is building awareness and action around how sustainability applies to our College campus, our community, the world, and ourselves. We’re building awareness and understanding that sustainability requires taking into account social, environmental and economic realities. To help construct this multilayered picture, each month the College will highlight and explore seemingly basic elements and actions in our lives that lend themselves to the world’s most pressing sustainability issues and opportunities:
The FOOD we eat.
The WATER we drink.
The SHELTER we live in.
The ENERGY we use.
THE FOOTPRINt we leave.
The FUTURE we build.
During the 2013-14 Sustainability Theme Year, each month will provide a similar structure of focused events, speakers, films, service opportunities and a monthly discussion where interested students, faculty, staff and community members can reflect on a particular issue. Our perspective throughout the year will be “glocal,” thinking about global issues in the context of our local place and circumstances.
To start off the 2013 fall semester the College will focus the month of September on the sustainability of FOOD…from “farm to fork.” A community farmers market will be hosted in coordination with the campus dining services, Bon Appetite, along with the local producers, and we will also kick off the Common Reading Experience with Will Allen’s Good Food Revolution. The College will begin a monthly speaker and film series with the topic of sustainable food systems, and the Student Farm / Albion Community Garden Network will be highlighted and promoted for their service opportunities. The month will also include other curricular and co-curricular learning opportunities and end with a community roundtable discussion on the topic of food sustainability.
October will focus campus attention on WATER, and will similarly include events, speakers, films, service and reflection. To end the fall semester, the focus will be SHELTER, which will include sustainable building and the larger impacts of development.
The schedule for spring 2014 also brings approachable topics and issues. February will be powered by ENERGY, March will focus on our ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT, and we’ll end the themed months in April with reflections on A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE. For this period we will use the film and educational resources of the acclaimed documentary Earth: An Operator’s Manual, which presents strong evidence of global climate change and offers tangible solutions while disarming the often politically driven perspectives that dominate the debate. Film host Dr. Richard Alley, an environmental scientist and Nobel Prize winner, will be the featured speaker at the 2014 Elkin Isaac Undergraduate Research Symposium. Albion College will end the year by highlighting and discussing the sustainability issues that are most pressing in our world, and the solutions and opportunities we have to effect change.
Sustainability at Albion College is more than a theme; it is an institutional priority. Throughout the year and beyond we’ll learn together, reflect together, and act together to make decisions in our daily lives, on our campus, and in our community that ignite and sustain a passion for a healthy, diverse and sustainable world.