Core Theme 3: Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice

Evergreen embeds considerations of environmental stewardship and social justice into its curriculum and its operations to increase awareness of the consequences of individual and collective decisions, promote and model positive engagement, and limit negative impacts on others and on the environment. The study and practice of environmental stewardship are deeply linked to questions of equity and diversity, as the allocation and consumption of increasingly scarce resources determine the ability to foster healthy communities locally and globally. Civic and environmental stewardship require the complex and rich interdisciplinary interaction of historically segregated inquiries such as science and public policy or science and cultural studies. Evergreen’s curriculum assumes that thinking critically about vital environmental challenges such as climate change or food security requires grounding in scientific principles and methods, as well as rigorous examination of social, political and economic systems.

Sustainability, social justice and environmental studies figure prominently throughout much of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. High-level standing committees further campus planning and goals; distinctive facilities incorporate green design and function; and student organizations generate an array of campus activities and projects. Many campus initiatives facilitate increased community awareness. Examples from 2011 include Synergy, the Science Carnival, the Center for Community-Based Learning and Action, Ban the Bottle Day, the Clean Energy Committee, the Teaching Gardens, alternative commuting challenges, the Campus Land Use Committee, the Center for Ecological Living and Learning, and the Sustainability Council. Fundamental pedagogical strategies support the connection of sustainability and justice theory with real-life applications, emphasizing field studies, hands-on research and community service.