Support for a Sustainability Minor at USD

Support for a Sustainability Minor at USD

December 4, 2022
Signatures: 81Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Harley Wahl

Sign this form to show your support for the addition of a Sustainability Minor at the University of San Diego! Please use your USD email, if possible. 


For more information, see below:


USD Sustainability Minor Proposal

Within our ever-changing global environment, we must learn to adapt and be resilient in the face of climate change and environmental injustice. Our world’s rapid economic globalization leaves us facing challenges with depleting resources, increased pollution, and growing inequalities among societies. To tackle this problem, universities across the country are implementing curriculum that will prepare students for any career with tools and knowledge on how to approach issues of sustainability and climate adaptation. Some of these Universities include sister schools to USD, as well as aspirational institutions. Below are a list of several universities offering sustainability minors: 

UC Berkeley
Santa Clara University
Cornell University
San Diego State University
Duke University
Lewis and Clark
Notre Dame
University of Illinois
University of the Pacific
California State University San Marcos
University of Kansas
California State University Northridge
University of Wisconson-Madison
Point Loma
University of Missouri
UC Irvine
University of Miami
California Baptist University

USD’s sustainability minor will consist of 18 credits (breakdown to be determined by committee members) with course requirements in environmental science, sociology, business, and philosophy/ethics to cultivate an interdisciplinary perspective. The minor will be available to all undergraduates of any major and will promote experience-based learning. While USD has taken several steps in the past decade to improve our overall footprint and climate education, our current selection of sustainability-related courses is not enough – many courses fill up quickly or are only available to students within a specific discipline. Evidence of this can be seen through enrollment competition – ie. Dr. Julia Cantzler teaches a sustainability course each semester which fills up within the first few days of registration, resulting in a 20+ person waitlist. This demonstrates student demand for more classes and should be met with an increase in both courses and overall curriculum focusing on sustainability and climate change.

USD’s Sustainability Minor will set us apart as an institution committed to cultivating long-term solutions for social, economic, and environmental challenges. Students will explore their role in our global community promoting a deep understanding of the history behind our current situation as well as instilling hope within our future leaders. In 2021, USD was named a “Laudato Si' University” by the Vatican with a seven-year commitment to address humanity's urgent challenges by working together to take care of our common home. USD has an obligation to promote and encourage solutions to live within our planetary boundaries. The University of Nebraska argues that “We need science to understand the earth’s systems, but we also need humanities to value those systems, and social sciences to help us formulate sustainable policies for people and the planet.” Sustainability is the next wave of education, it’s our turn to join the movement. 

Example course selections:

Environmental science
Resource management (Marine Resource Management, Dr. Gentry)
Environmental Assessment Practices/Policy  (CEQA)
Technological skills (GIS, engineering)
Faith & sustainability 
Business & sustainability 
Environmental Justice
Environmental Ethics
Senior Capstone 

Sustainability requires that short and long-term social, economic, and environmental impacts of products and processes be considered. With globalization of the world's economies, continuing challenges with depletion of resources and increased global pollution, the well-being of society will require application of the principles of sustainability.

Current and best practices for planetary sustainability on an individual, institutional, regional and global level.

Planetary boundaries

Include independent study / culminating research project / internship

Explore the role humans play in global stewardship and social equity. Examining the relationship between environmentalism, social justice, and economics, students not only study the historical context of current environmental issues, but also focus on potential solutions to these enduring concerns.

Care for common home: As a Catholic institution of higher learning, Villanova University has an obligation and commitment to exercise leadership in promoting and reinforcing environmental responsibility by integrating ethical, social, economic, and ecological values of environmentally sustainable development into its curriculum, research and institutional policy and practice.

Sustainability is about more than just environmental science, more than just air or water or land or ocean.  It is about the interconnectedness of every system on the planet, and preserving the ability of the earth to support both our generation and the generations after us.  We need science to understand the earth’s systems, but we also need humanities to value those systems, and social sciences to help us formulate sustainable policies for people and the planet.

Support now
Signatures: 81Next Goal: 100
Support now