Certificate program seeks to reframe sustainability

Student News

In a move to help the UC Santa Cruz community broaden and deepen the conversation around sustainability, the campus has launched a new seven-course certificate program for faculty, staff, and graduate students.The Sustainability Certificate Program, created by the Office of Sustainability, went through a pilot run last academic year and is preparing for a formal launch in fall. Registration will open Aug. 14 on the UC Learning Site.
Sustainability Program Manager Shauna Casey said the office has long focused on providing practical advice: how to avoid creating trash, tips on recycling, tools for minimizing your energy demands, and more. The office, however, noticed a growing need to support campus employees in discussing sustainability in a deeper and more meaningful way.
“The certificate program seeks to examine sustainability not only through the lens of the environment, but also through the lens of people. It’s not just ’how do we reach a goal like, say, reducing carbon emissions,’ but ‘how do we do so in a way that respects people where they’re at’ given that sustainability solutions often privilege people with means?”
For example, when considering strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Cruz, the solution of living closer to where you work is simply not possible for most people given the costs of housing compared to wages.
“How can we frame sustainability so that its inclusive of these considerations at once?” Casey asked. “It’s not an easy thing to do, and we certainly don’t do it perfectly, but this is what we’re aiming for.”
Casey said the program was modeled after the campus’s lauded Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program. To earn a certificate, participants must complete six required core courses and one elective within two academic years.
The program is designed to take a holistic look at sustainability and not break it into specific …

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