As an institute of higher learning, the most important aspect of Colorado College is academics. Environmental Science and other sustainability related topics are popular majors at the college, and many of the school’s academic programs involve sustainability-related study. The Office is working to establish a designation that would denote sustainability related courses on student transcripts. The courses that would fall under the definition of this minor are listed in the Curriculum page.
The Office is also in conversation with the academic departments to establish a Sustainability Minor or a Sustainability Certificate that would allow students to combine academic coursework with a co-curricular experience to receive recognition on their official transcript.
Colorado College students, faculty, and staff also perform research on sustainability topics. Information about State of the Rockies, a program that documents the status of the Rocky Mountains ecology and individual scientific resource performed by faculty and students can be found under the research tab.
In order to implement recommendations from the Strategic Knowledge Development process conducted in 2013-14 and in support of The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block, Colorado College is developing a sustainability designation so that students may refer to specific learning objectives completed during their education at the college. Recommendations from the report to implement this designation are as follows:
The goal of sustainability education at CC is to fully and creatively utilize the strengths of the Block Plan in order to empower students to investigate the relationships between social, economic, and environmental challenges, particularly as they apply to our communities. Through a liberal arts education, sustainability studies at CC should strengthen our relationship to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains as well as the broader human economy and the larger ecosystem in which it is embedded.
Sustainability offerings will be divided into two categories [following The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) guidelines]:
Sustainability-focused courses (T1) explicitly concentrate on at least THREE or more of the following topics and the potential relationships between them.
Sustainability-related courses (T2) focus on at least ONE or more of the following topics and perhaps contemplate connections to other topics.
- Investigation and evaluation of the complex global systems in which sustainability exist (e.g. laws, economics and policies)
- Philosophical or theoretical frameworks through which to view environmental and sustainability issues
- Historical phenomena and patterns that have produced modern sustainability issues
- Social justice, environmental justice, and other equity concerns, including investigation of the complex social networks and dynamics of power that can perpetuate and complicate sustainability issues
- Possibilities for innovative connections between sustainability and different academic disciplines (e.g. Film and New Media Studies, Music, English)
- Understanding of, and critical thinking about the scientific method and how science can be applied to understanding natural systems and environmental issues
- Practice in technical and scientific skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Practice in social and communication skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Analysis and composition in literature, creative writing, design, visual arts, music and other art forms that can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges
- Analysis of and engagement with other cultural perspectives to build an understanding around how they relate to sustainability
- Development of a "Sense of Place," including a better understanding of the many possible connections to one's surroundings and community
- Research or course activities that encourage engagement with our communities to help them flourish
- Research or course activities that focus on self-reflection (e.g. resource usage, waste generation, travel footprint, etc.)