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Academic Sustainability Designation

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 of the following topics and the potential relationships between them. 
  • Sustainability-related course (T2) focus on one 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.)