The Sustainable Campus (Trends and Innovations)
- By Angie Brown
- May 1st, 2016
At the University of Arizona in Tucson, the mission
of the Institute of the Environment (IE) is to advance
innovative solutions to environmental challenges in
Arizona and around the planet. The IE embraces the significance of
its location in the desert Southwest and harnesses the collaborative
expertise at the University of Arizona (UA) and among its partners
to help societies, especially those in dry regions, make the best-informed
decisions for a sustainable future. The institute invests
in creative scholarship and cutting-edge research, promotes the
environmental enterprise of the university, and trains students and
faculty alike to convey their insights to the world.
Being green is easier than ever with the University of Arizona’s
new Green Engagement Guide, which links students to internships,
externships, volunteer work and campus student organizations
related to the environment and sustainability.
By Students, for Students
Launched in April by the IE and the university’s Office of Sustainability,
the guide was written by students, for students, with up-todate
searchable listings for on- and off-campus jobs, tips for living
more sustainably and creating a successful green project, and other
information designed to highlight the extraordinary opportunities
for environmental learning and career building in and around the UA.
“The Green Engagement Guide synthesizes the extensive
amount of involvement opportunities in the sustainability field all
in one place,” says Christina Petsas, a senior majoring in communication
and Spanish who helped compile the guide. “It makes
it easy for us to find opportunities to do hands-on work and gain
experience in green initiatives.”
While students can find a diverse array of engagement opportunities
through the university’s Office of Student Engagement, the
Green Engagement Guide focuses on opportunities specifically related
to environment-and sustainability-related experiences beyond
the classroom. The guide can help students find ways to enhance
their personal and professional development and foster curiosity
about solutions to environmental, social and economic challenges.
Focused on undergraduates, the guide includes timely listings
of internships, jobs, volunteer positions and research opportunities
submitted by off-campus employers, agencies, organizations,
nonprofits, and UA staff, faculty, researchers and clubs. For students
interested in initiating a project that promotes sustainability
and the environment, the guide also includes a list of previous
green projects on campus and downloadable resource guides on
subjects such as writing a grant, managing a budget and navigating
the university administration. Additionally, students can find
a list of green clubs and organizations across campus and tips for
ways students can make their lives more sustainable.
The guide joins a suite of other green guides available from the
IE to help students home in on UA courses, degrees and careers
related to the environment and sustainability.
The Green Guides
“The Green Guides [www.greenguides.arizona.edu] are
designed to help students explore and incorporate their environmental
interests into their UA experience, whether we’re talking
about a freshman picking classes, a near-graduate looking for
career options or someone looking for an interesting club activity
or internship,” says Betsy Woodhouse, deputy director of the UA’s
Institute of the Environment.
The Green Course Guide, updated each semester, enables students
to find current or upcoming green courses, regardless of their
degree choice. The Green Degree Guide makes it easy for students
to find undergraduate degrees and minors at the UA related to the
environment and sustainability, and it includes tips for greening
one’s education. The Green Career Guide helps students determine
job sectors or careers that might hold the most interest for them.
“The UA is committed to fostering a culture of experiential
learning, where every moment of a student’s day is a learning
experience,” says Ben Champion, director of the UA’s Office of
Sustainability. “Our students have some of the best opportunities
in the country to learn about real-world grand challenges in environmental
and social justice. With the Green Guides, they can find
the courses, research and community partners to create solutions
throughout campus and Tucson.”
The IE, Office of Sustainability and Career Services developed the
guides with support from the Green Fund, a student-funded and
student-run program focused on sustainability projects across campus.
“Environmental opportunities exist in every college on campus,
but they can be hidden in unexpected places,” Woodhouse says.
“Our efforts have been aimed at identifying both the obvious and the
not-so-obvious opportunities, whether the student is majoring in
English or environmental studies, education or engineering.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.
Angie Brown is project & event coordinator for the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona.