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Educating Sustainability Ambassadors

Educating Sustainability Ambassadors (ESA) Initiative

ESA is a campus-wide program housed in the Institute for Global Citizenship. The program promotes sustainability as a framework for critical thinking to consider the economic, environmental and social dimensions that underlie pressing problems and potential solutions. ESA supports both curricular and co-curricular opportunities, including student-faculty collaborative research. We seek to fund projects from diverse disciplines that cultivate understanding of sustainability as an essential component of global citizenship.

Student Opportunities

Sustainability Seminar

The seminar invites students in their sophomore or junior year to deepen their understanding of sustainability through real-world problem solving. The seminar uses a sustainability framework for considering the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of these problems and their potential solutions. All seminar participants commit to a 6-month learning endeavor, comprised of (1) a spring semester course, and (2) a paid summer practicum. The seminar is offered during the spring semester. The deadline for the 2016 Sustainability Seminar has now passed.

Sustain It Fund: Social Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Projects

The ESA program funds student-designed and -implemented projects that advance sustainability as a core of global citizenship, while creating tangible and lasting social change. The selection of grant recipients is led by the IGC Student Council. 

  • Jterm projects: Any student who enrolled during academic year 2015-2016 is eligible to apply. The Jterm application opens in October.
  • Summer projects: Any student who will be enrolled during spring and fall semesters of 2016 is eligible to apply. The summer application opens in February.

Faculty Opportunities

Sustainability Faculty Curriculum Workshop

The Sustainability Curriculum Workshop supports the development of a new sustainability-focused component (such as a course module, lab, or experiential learning activity) for an existing course. Faculty members from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals. The workshop is designed to help faculty provide students with meaningful exposure to sustainability and will equip participants with tools, resources, and strategies to support the creation of a new learning module and/or assignment for an existing course. The primary goal is to help faculty create course-based learning experiences that suggest approaches and solutions to problems using a sustainability framework, either from disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. A secondary goal is to enrich the community of scholar-teachers at Macalester who are interested in the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. 

The seminar will run on January 13 and 14 and will include a field trip to relevant sites in the Twin Cities. Lunch, snacks, and refreshments will be provided.  Tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenured faculty as well as staff with teaching duties are eligible to apply, provided the applicant commits to teaching a course hosting the learning activity during the spring 2016 or during the 2016-2017 academic year. 

International Seminar

ESA will host a two-week international seminar in Denmark in late May/early June 2016 on the theme of “Ownership and Transitions to Sustainability.” We will examine transitions to sustainability that have happened, that are in process, or that are under consideration, drawing on insights from across disciplines and divisions. The seminar will incorporate four faculty-student collaborative projects and involve six additional faculty participants. The application process is now closed.

Academic Year Student-Faculty Collaborations

Funds are available for collaborative projects on a sustainability-relevant topic. Students can earn $9.50/hour for up to 116 hours of work. 

ESA supported the following academic year student-faculty collaborative projects in 2014-2015:

  • Victor Addona (Math, Computer Science, and Statistics) – Building an evidence base for improving the sustainability of the healthcare system in Kenya
  • Michael Zis (Political Science) – Widening the Lens of Sustainability
  • Morgan Adamson (Media and Cultural Studies) – Fast Food and the Fight for Fifteen
  • Duchess Harris (American Studies) – The Human Computer Project: Digital Humanities Archive
  • Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren (Theatre and Dance) – What is a River?

Curricular Innovation Grants

The Curricular Innovation Grants may be used to support either the creation of a new course related to sustainability or the revision of an existing course to include a significant component related to sustainability. A call for proposals will be released in early spring 2016.

ESA supported the following course development proposals in 2015: 

  • Olga Gonzalez, Anthropology – Art and Sustainability in Latin America
  • Amy Damon, Economics – Economics of Sustainable Development
  • Sarah West, Economics – Economics of Public Policy
  • Roopali Phadke, Environmental Studies – Climate Talks
  • Joelle Vitiello, French – Food in France and the Francophone World
  • Ruthanne Kurth-Schai, Educational Studies – Philosophy of Education

For more information, contact Christie Manning () or Erik Larson ().