-Dr. Michael Svoboda
Former Director of the Sustainability Minor
"We all know Adam Smith's notion-- that individual's pursuit of private gain guides them, as if by an invisible hand, to produce public goods. As someone who studies, teaches, and practices sustainability, I try always to remember the invisible foot--the ecological maxim that nature will kick us in the ass if we don't respect planetary boundaries."
The undergraduate Minor in Sustainability allows students to explore the challenges of sustainability and to think about how to develop solutions to pressing issues at the local, regional, and global scale. It introduces students to the concepts, principles, and issues that inform the sustainability paradigm and also integrates classroom and community-based learning and research in a program that prepares students to apply the sustainability perspective to their future endeavors.
This pan-university Sustainability Minor includes several innovative features such as team-taught courses including SUST 1001: Introduction to Sustainability, SUST 2002: Sustainable Cities, SUST 3002: Climate Change and Policy and SUST 3003: The Sustainable Plate. These interdisciplinary courses are taught by faculty and experts from several schools and disciplines. Additionally, all sustainability minors complete a Culminating Experience in their junior or senior year in the form of service, internship, research, or study abroad.
To learn more about registering for the Sustainability Minor, check out our Before You Declare page.
School: School of Business
"Sustainability is important to me because the world is important to me. And if the world is important to me why would I do anything else but take care of it to the best of my ability? Having a sustainable lifestyle is the only logical lifestyle to have in the future. Or, rather, the only lifestyle to have if we want a future."
School: Ellliot School of International Affairs
Major: International Affiars
"I believe in the importance of addressing and celebrating the intersection that exists within sustainability and environmental justice."
School: Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
"To me, sustainability is about preservation and innovation. Its about moving forward and improving how our systems operate in a way that protects the natural environment for future generations and for other living things."
The concept of sustainability is both broad and specific as it is applied to areas ranging from social systems to law, engineering, public health, and natural systems. The course considers goals, principles, and practical applications, with a multidisciplinary perspective on major environmental and social issues growing out of these concerns. SUST 1001 is a requirement for the minor. This course is offered is in both the spring and fall semesters.
A key piece of GW’s Sustainability Minor is the Culminating Experience, which is based in experiential learning. The Culminating Experience provides students with an opportunity to apply what they learned through their sustainability related coursework. The culminating experience is reserved for juniors and seniors in the Sustainability Minor. Study abroad in junior or senior year may count towards the Culminating Experience but MUST be pre-approved before leaving for the study abroad semester.
This course explores the connection between cities and sustainability. We consider sustainability from a variety of theoretical and practical perspectives and examine some of the most pressing and critical issues that must be addressed in order to create a sustainable city. Central to this course is a focus on Washington, D.C. Ultimately, this course is concerned with how the future of cities and the quality of life for those who live there can be improved through sustainable urban development projects and policy. This course is offered in the spring semester.
Climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective. Mitigation, adaptation, and intervention from the perspectives of public policy, economics, psychology, and public health. Climate modeling, green infrastructure, carbon capture and storage, climate justice, and international and multilateral environmental agreements. This course is offered in the fall semester.
The course focuses on how our dietary choices affect not only our health but the environment and those involved in the production of food. This class explores the sustainable plate— how does dinner affect the future of the environment, economy, and society— from an interdisciplinary perspective. Food is a topic which can be explored from a variety of fields, from policy to public health and business to international affairs. This course is offered in the spring semester. (Note: This course was previously offered as SUST 2003)
Spring 2018 Office Hours:
Ariel Kagan, Senior Program Associate: By appointment
For an appointment, please contact SustMinor@gwu.edu
725 23rd St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20052