Named the greenest university in the United States by Sierra Magazine, holding classes that teach sustainability appears a sensible steppingstone for CU.
This semester, two classes are available for students to take that will allow students to understand as well as spread knowledge of sustainability. The classes are Going Green: Becoming a Sustainability Coordinator, as well as a Teach for Sustainability Internship.
James Wentworth, the Academic Coordinator for Continuing Education, said that with Boulder’s background, it’s only natural to have classes teaching about and promoting sustainability.
“Boulder is one of the places in the country that’s very focused and in support of sustainability, it makes sense to be offering this education,” Wentworth said.
Through Continuing Education, students took a class called Going Green: Becoming a Sustainability Coordinator taught by Boulder Community Hospital’s Sustainable Coordinator Kai Abelkis.
In the class, students learned about basic sustainability topics such as water efficiency and alternate energy, as well as make a sustainability position within an organization, according to the Continuing Education Web site.
Abelkis taught the one-day seminar class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on January 22, which Continuing Education also filmed for the online version of the class, which will be offered in March, Wentworth said.
The class can act as ten hours toward earning the Sustainability Management Certificate or one continuing education credit, according to the Web site. To register for the class visit.
Wentworth said he sees a strong future for the Sustainable Coordinator position in the workplace.
“It’s a fairly new position that is springing up everywhere in an office or factory setting,” Wentworth said. “[People are] starting to embrace this idea and we imagine that there will be a situation where major corporations are doing all they can with an eye to environment as well as find practices that help the bottom line. There are a lot of savings to be had by being sustainable.”
Another sustainable program in motion this spring semester is the Teach for Sustainability Internship, which students earn three credit hours by teaching elementary school students about sustainability.
The course was previously called Earth Education, but last semester the Environmental Center revamped the program and Teach for Sustainability was born, said Professor Susan Strife, the course professor.
“This is the new face of the program,” Strife said. “(Earth Education) didn’t focus really on energy efficiency, but more on natural sciences and teachers are having a hard time integrating it into their curriculum.”
The class meets once a week on Wednesdays, according to the Web site, so the CU students can create a curriculum for their once-a-week session with students ranging from third to fifth grade. In the past the interns taught at Boulder area schools like Crestview Elementary and Creekside Elementary, Strife said.
In this program Strife said she feels that not only do the elementary students benefit, but that interning teachers do as well.
“It allows them to connect with the local community,” Strife said. “It is also…very empowering to those who are used to being talked at by professors. It’s a very hands-on approach for undergrads and helps with understanding communication around environmental studies.”
Austin Rand, a 22-year-old senior environmental studies major, who took the class last semester said he couldn’t agree more.
“It’s a great program,” Rand said. “I would recommend it to a wide audience of people, not just people in education or environmentalism, but anyone interested in the Boulder community…Students can get so focused on the CU community. You can forget there is a very elaborate city around you that we interact with on a daily basis.”
Some students on campus said they found the sustainability classes to be a good idea as well.
“It’s cool because it’s very proactive and it’s not just a class,” said Tyler Schelpat, a 19-year-old junior double majoring in MCD biology and psychology.
However, other students like Patrick Guidi, a 19-year-old freshman psychology major, said he wonders about the potential future of sustainability.
“(Training to be a Sustainability Coordinator) will be good to study for, as long as it stays profitable,” Guidi said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Rose Heaphy at Josephine.firstname.lastname@example.org.