Photos taken by students and faculty of the Practicing Sustainability class.
The purpose of this website is to promote practicing sustainability. As the Practicing Sustainability class in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech, we created this website to share our efforts about our progress towards achieving a sustainable future. This is the capstone class for the Pathways to Sustainability minor. Future Practicing Sustainability classes will use this website to share and document their work and efforts.
There are four key features of this class. The first feature is the content of the class syllabus as it co-creates and changes every year. This is because each year the Professor co-designs the course content with students and teaching assistants. This collaborative re-design process will update course content to meet students' knowledge and develop their skills in specific areas.
Second, we organized the guest speaker series to cover broader sustainability topics. These speakers are experts in various aspects of Sustainability and include university professors, practitioners, activists, and policymakers worldwide. Some of the topics we covered for the Spring 2023 class are: diversity, equity, and inclusion; circular economy; climate, energy solutions, and policy; sustainable transportation; cooperation under water scarcity; biodiversity conservation, tourism, and resource-based livelihoods; environmental justice and sustainability; sustainable agriculture in harsh environments; and sustainability in theater and costumes; sustainability & the agricultural system in the U.S. Farm Bill.
Third, this class does not have any exams. Instead, we use group projects to foster learning and collaboration. For instance, the Spring 2023 class includes a photovoice assignment, a fashion show, creating this website, and a group paper. Student group leaders and teaching assistants are a crucial part of these activities.
Lastly, we document our practicing sustainability efforts to share with the global community. By doing this, we aim to promote our teaching approach and sustainable thinking/living with communities all around the world.
"This class is unique in that it is designed to be hands-on. We created this website to document the work we are doing and to share our ideas and approaches with the rest of the world. This class embodies what sustainability is about -- it's transdisciplinary, constantly evolving, and thrives on collaboration. I am very excited to have been part of the creation of this website. This class and being a group leader has pushed me outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible. If you're reading this, I am so glad you are here! To our class, I am very proud of the work we have been able to accomplish in 13 weeks. I'm excited for what the future holds for the next class!"
----- Emma Babiec, Website Group Leader
"I have absolutely loved being a group leader for this class! The class had a very hands-on collaborative approach that allowed the students to take control over the content we wanted on this website and in class. It was refreshing to have a class structured in a way that prioritized the students' voices. Pieces of this website were designed by different people in our class and it is wonderful to see how it has all come together to create a beautiful finished product that future generations of Practicing Sustainability students will build off of!"
----- Hannah Garbutt, Website Group Leader