Sustainability in Psychology at Coe College
Jennifer Lee, Coe College
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Does your college have a sustainability program? If so, does the program have a web presence? (Please include URL.):
A few highlights: Coe's dining services went tray-less last year, all cooking grease is given to a person in Wisconsin who converts it into bio-diesel, there are recycling bins for all materials in every building, and all of the printers on campus use 100% recyclable materials and are set to duplex.
Have groups of faculty at your school discussed integrating sustainability into the curriculum? If so, describe the successes and challenges of the effort(s).
I am only going into my second year at Coe so I am unfamiliar with this one, but Coe does have a Sustainability Council, and Environmental Club and "EcoHouse" dedicated to practicing and learning about sustainability. Further, the majority of Coe's courses are online in Moodle, with many faculty choosing to use only online quizzes, exams, and assignments. There is also a pilot program in place to perform course evaluations on line.
How is Sustainability understood in your discipline?
There is a relatively new construct in the field of psychology called Conservation Psychology. Conservation Psychology is defines as the scientific study of reciprocal relationships between humans and rest of nature and it encourage conservation of the natural world. Importantly, it focuses not only on how much the environment needs humans, but also how much we need the environment. For example proponents of conservation psychology argue that one of the reasons mental health has become such a big problem is that we have lost our relationship with nature and the natural world. The overall goal of conservation psychology is for researchers and practitioners to work together to understand and promote sustainable and harmonious relationship between people and natural environment. It has also been referred to as a psychology for a sustainable future
Why are you interested in this FaCE project? What do you hope to gain from the workshop?
I am personally interested in the workshop because sustainability is very important to me- I want to learn new ways to promote sustainability at home and at Coe. For example, I am looking for new ways to reduce paper waste in the classroom. Also, I am teaching a psychology seminar next year called "Conservation Psychology," and I would like to take material from the workshop and incorporate it into the course.