Teaching Sustainable Literacy
Sustainability themes have been incorporated into more than 30 courses in almost every discipline, from the arts and humanities to the sciences. Willamette offered one of the West’s first environmental science programs (1973), and the College of Law offers an innovative Certificate Program in Sustainable Environmental, Energy and Resources Law.
The Sustainability Council, established in 2004, offers students, faculty and staff an opportunity to get involved. Volunteers spearhead lectures, conferences and workshops; annual Sustainability Retreats and Sustainability Days; and numerous campus and community projects. The council promotes research and cross-disciplinary collaborations, funds innovative student and staff initiatives with mini-grants, and nurtures community partnerships that focus on sustainability.
The Center for Sustainable Communities, an academic center established in 2006, offers conferences and workshops, and promotes sustainability research and curriculum, as well as partnerships across the region. Workshops include sustainability orientations for Oregon legislators. "Knowledge is only as good as the purpose for which it’s used," says Joe Bowersox, past director of the center.
Willamette University's Sustainable Enterprise Certificate program takes a unique approach to presenting the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental well-being. This is done in a way that will integrate all areas of sustainability by first focusing on the dynamics of complex systems, followed by a practical look at social systems and how the expansion of social well-being ties directly to economic and environmental well-being.