My Work with Campus Greening Projects
With a grounding in sustainability based in international research, since 2001 I have been exploring teaching, research, and service activities that foster sustainability in our western culture. I am increasingly interested in the cognitive aspects of western consumer culture-- for example, how inhabitants of western societies can be motivated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the context of a nonrenewable resource dependent way of being, can reground personal and civic priorities to be founded in community rather than in competitive consumptive modes, and can realize our nation's rich potential as a leader in alternative energy and environmental stewardship.
One example of my service in this area is my work with George Mason campus sustainability. In the Fall of 2004 I initiated a campus group to organize the first Earth Day celebration on the George Mason campus in spring 2005. Beginning in Fall 2004, I facilitated a campus-wide initiative, a week of university-wide Earth Day activities geared towards raising local awareness and local responses to global climate change. I began by sending out a campus-wide call to faculty to solicit their involvement in organizing Earth Day activities to raise on-campus consciousness of climate change. We met regularly and held a successful two weeks of activities, highlighted with a day of presentations by Dr David Orr. We also held a 2006 Earth Day celebration featuring Bill McKibben and a 2007 event with Jansse Ray. Our group established an Environmental Task Force in January 2006 in order to work on campus sustainability issues across university sectors. To see the text of a Fall ’06 article in the university newspaper, go HERE. A major outcome of the task force was the hiring of Mason's first sustainability coordinator. With a full time sustainability coordinator in their second year term, I can now move my energy back to my teaching and research! To learn more about Mason's greening efforts, go here: http://green.gmu.edu/
Beyond the role I played as a key facilitator to the task force and Earth Day events, I worked with the sub-group to green the Mason curriculum. As teachers we are tasked with educating the citizens of the future. It only makes sense to teach about the issues that are most pertinent to the future—the issues of sustainability and global climate change. In response to my conviction in this area, I attended a “Sustainability Across the Curriculum” workshop in San Diego July 2006, led by Peggy Barlett and Geoff Chase, in order to learn how to begin the process of bringing sustainability across the curriculum at GMU. Follwing the workshop, I co-facilitated two workshops at GMU (January 2007 and 2008) and trained a total of 30 faculty from a dozen departments, each who have produced or are in the process of producing syllabi. We are now finishing the process of developing a minor in Sustainability, intregrating those and other courses across the university.