New sustainability literacy program for fall 2017

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Renewable energy is one of many topics the new sustainability literacy program will cover.  (Photo courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov)

Every ten years, the College of Charleston submits a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges (SACSCOC) for reaccreditation. This organization assesses the educational quality of member institutions, before crediting them as a degree-granting establishment. Submissions for reaccreditation must include a QEP detailing their strategy to prove their educational worth and improve upon it, showing their dedication to providing a well-rounded experience to their students.

The last reaccreditation for the College occurred in fall of 2007, with the implementation of the First Year Experience program. The new QEP, currently undergoing the approval process, includes a comprehensive sustainability literacy program. The program aims to instill the knowledge and skills to advocate for resilient social, economic and environmental systems. These three systems make up a triple bottom line, an intersecting web of ideals and outlooks, that can improve a resilient and stable society. The QEP’s goals are to build awareness, synthesize and integrate knowledge, build skill and competency learning and promote experiential learning. 

Todd LeVassaur, QEP Manager and Environmental Studies Program Director, views these three ideals as the key to fostering a more stable future and a sense of interdisciplinary problem-solving. The program will “facilitate a campus wide discussion to solve systemic problems and instill new values moving forward.” The QEP endeavors to shape College of Charleston into a competitive local leader in sustainability literacy and enhance the learning environment for students.

The program itself will wind its way into every facet of college life in both a curricular and co-curricular sense, becoming a focal point for all students regardless of major. The issues of sustainability will be integrated into classroom curriculum, including the First Year Experience classes and the College Reads selection. The program also plans to provide the community with innovative ways to become involved, including art competitions, events, guest speakers (both locally and nationally), documentaries and incentives for sustainability geared research. The alternative breaks will be geared toward further sustainability education and provide a real life way to generate solutions.

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