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Sustainability for Global Citizenship Seminar

Seminar Information

The deadline for the Spring 2016 Sustainability Seminar has now passed.

The seminar invites students in their sophomore or junior year with interests in any disciplinary field 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 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.

In the spring semester course, students will:

a) examine theories of sustainability;
b) consider potential synergies and trade-offs that can occur when addressing the multiple dimensions of sustainability;
c) gain skills in problem-solving using sustainability as the lens through which problems are considered; and
d) analyze, through case studies, determinants and consequences of organizational commitment to sustainability.

As part of the course, students will work in 3-person teams to prepare for the summer practicum.

The 10-week, paid summer practicum will position students within locally-based organizations where they will apply their classroom-based insights and continue their learning about sustainability. Four organizations will have articulated problems or opportunities that they have not yet resolved or pursued. Seminar participants will work in teams and in collaboration with the organizational partner to craft and implement a solution that considers all dimensions of sustainability. Seminar participants will receive mentorship from members of the organization partner and Macalester faculty. All seminar participants will meet weekly during the summer to reflect on their work and share learning across different individual and group experiences. Through the seminar, participants can expect to gain knowledge in how to use a sustainability framework to effect real world change. Furthermore, seminar participants, regardless of disciplinary interest, will build their capacity to work as part of a team and their ability to solve challenging problems.


The seminar is open to sophomores and juniors in good academic standing. Preference will be given to juniors. Students with any disciplinary interest are eligible and encouraged to apply. No prior coursework or extracurricular involvement with sustainability is required. 12 participants will be selected in total.

Who should apply?

 Sophomore and junior students who

  • have an interest in sustainability, coming from a diversity of backgrounds and fields of study.
  • are courageous, conscientious, creative, hard-working and have excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • demonstrate an ability to work well with others and independently with minimal supervision.
  • show an ability to work collaboratively on a complex project to meet deadlines.
  • will be full participants in the spring semester seminar and can work 40 hours per week from May 23 – July 29, 2016. All paid, unpaid, or voluntary summer work must be clearly indicated on the application.


Contact Christie Manning at 

The Sustainability Seminar is part of Macalester’s Educating Sustainability Ambassadors initiative.

Educating Sustainability Ambassadors (ESA), housed in the Institute for Global Citizenship (IGC), seeks to cultivate skills and perspectives related to the framework of sustainability. Combining curricular and co-curricular opportunities, ESA will help students address pressing problems and conceive of appropriate solutions, including consideration of economic, environmental, and social dimensions.