Global Change Biology Service-Learning Project
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
The class engaged in a service learning project to craft a draft sustainability vision for Carleton. The students worked in teams of 3-4 students and the statements that each of the teams developed were shared with the Environment and Technology Studies Program (ENTS) and the Carleton Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC). The EAC and ENTS will then refine the ideas into a statement that will eventually go to the president and trustees and become incorporated into the day-to-day business of the college.
The service-learning component of the course provides:
- a chance to collaborate with your instructor and fellow students to develop solutions to real-world problems that will have an impact on how Carleton operates in the future;
- a chance to give you hands-on experience applying your knowledge in your major (e.g., education, media studies, political science, art, environmental biology, psychology) to an environmental issue, in this case, campus sustainability;
- practice implementing the solutions you developed to global change biology issues; that is, gaining a sense of the challenges of bringing about change;
- practice learning how to become an engaged citizen by working on issues that can be implemented to help solve environmental problems.
Context for Use
Carleton is on the cusp of both a 100-year campus planning initiative and a major capital campaign. This involves the possibility of adding several new buildings, renovating older ones, adding parking lots, and dealing with the energy and water consumption of all of these endeavors and the waste that they produce. Thus, there is a lot of opportunity for considering alternative approaches and the issue of designing a campus that is more sustainable in terms of energy use and waste production. This course, an introductory non-majors biology course, used a service-learning approach to teach about biology and connect the course to a local project.
Teaching Notes and Tips