Sustainability Integrated Education
Kalamazoo College offers students the opportunity to achieve an education that integrates sustainability through coursework, independent research, externships, study abroad, and campus programming. Derek Walton K'10 (pictured above) stands next to a poster summarizing his SIP research. Walton presented at the first annual Sustainability SIP Symposium.
- The concentration in environmental studies is based upon the recognition that environmental and resource problems are not just biological, geological, economic, or political. Therefore, the concentration is structured as an interdisciplinary study by selecting appropriate courses from the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities, in order to pool knowledge from across traditional disciplinary lines.
- As a requirement to receive a K-College degree, seniors must complete an independent research project. Each year students choose to probe a variety of topics related to sustainability. Physics students complete inventories of college energy use while theater students study the environmental impact of various set designs. Biology students assess the carbon sequestration potential of college-owned nature preserves and sociology and anthropology students examine cultural, economic, political, and social barriers to green commuting practices. Across disciplines, the SIP allows students to adopt their unique approach to sustainability.
- During the summer of 2009, the College funded seven Climate Research Fellows to research and develop work that could directly or indirectly lead to reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the College. The work of four of the seven was funded by the Climate Commitment Planning Committee’s Climate Research Fellowships. “The fellowships provide an on-campus opportunity for students interested in sustainability research,” says committee chair Paul Manstrom. “In the past, these students would have had to find an internship on the outside.” The College will extend the program for the summer of 2010.
- Experiential Learning is an integral part of the entire Kalamazoo College education. Students at K-College learn in the classroom but they also spend time learning by doing, especially in regard to issues of sustainability.The Land Sea Program, Study Abroad, and Service-Learning all allow students to gain a deeper understanding of sustainability through experiential learning programs.