|Submission Date||Sept. 24, 2012|
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
ER-T2-8: Themed Semester or Year
Has the institution chosen a sustainability-related theme for its themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the past three years?:
A brief description of the themed semester, year, or first-year experience:
UALR offers a first year, introductory college course First Year Experience that is offered each fall and spring. As a part of this course, all students are exposed to a curriculum that helps them to explore their potential, to help them develop relationships to improve their chances for success, and to expose them to volunteerism in a cause of their interest.
This Spring, the course administrator Undergraduate Academic Advising is piloting several components that integrate sustainability into the curriculum. As a part of this, all 183 students participating in the Spring 2012 First Year course, were engaged in a discussion regarding sustainability. The content of the discussion was based on the 7-point sustainability curriculum framework as defined by Second Nature, which is a Boston-based national non-profit that focuses on environmental and social issues. To further engage interested students, students are provided with the opportunity to participate/volunteer in a series of events that would encourage awareness and engagement for sustainability across the campus. Thus far, 38 students signed up to volunteer their time with this initiative; cumulatively, a total of 54 students have elected to participate. Additionally, weekly briefs are provided in-class to highlight the progress of this sustainability initiative. As of February 29, 2012, the initiative has garnered the support and collaboration of 14 student and business organizations, and signatures of over 150 students, faculty, and staff at UALR who have taken the “Project Earth” 4-point pledge in support of this initiative. The pledge states that signers will recycle their next 4 bottles, next 4 cans, next 4 sheets of paper, and save electricity the next 4 times. The simplicity of this pledge was created to encourage incremental, yet sustainable changes.
Of the seven points, the content and pedagogy that were and are being incorporated addresses, at a macroscopic level, the following sustainability themes/framework points: Human Connections to the Physical and Natural World, How Natural Systems Function, Technological and Economic Relationships to Sustainability, Motivation Environmentally Sustainable Behavior, and
Pedagogical Strategies for Integrating Sustainability. Facilitation of the pedagogy element occurs outside of the regular classroom setting and includes coaching of participating students to encourage their development. Events that will be implemented are conducted in collaboration with the UALR Sustainability Committee and its other campus partners.
The sustainability-related book that was chosen, if applicable:
The website URL where information about the theme is available:
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