Going Green in the Classroom

Mount Mary University aims to educate a new generation for a sustainable future. Students are encouraged to broaden their horizons when considering living lightly on the Earth and on campus.

Environmental awareness is promoted in classes that focus on environmental science and contemporary environmental issues. A minor in environmental studies is also offered.

Mount Mary’s study abroad programs allow students to get firsthand experience in sustainability, eco-friendliness, green design, organic farming and more. These educational journeys take students to Costa Rica, Scandinavia and other countries worldwide. 

Classroom Initiatives

Many courses and related activities at Mount Mary create opportunities for students to explore and become involved in environmental and sustainability issues.

Environmental Journalism Class Launches Website
This spring, nine student journalists from MMU researched environmental problems that affect Milwaukee, with the goal to raise awareness of climate change, encourage sustainability, and foster responsible consumer practices. Students approached this from a solutions journalism lens – rigorous reporting that focuses in-depth on an environmental problem, a solution to that problem, and the effectiveness/limitations of the solution. https://climate414.wordpress.com

Sustainable interior design: Mount Mary’s interior design program offers sustainable design instruction that addresses historical, ethical and global perspectives on environmental and sustainable issues. The program also encourages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

In addition, interior design students create and display sustainable furniture designs at an annual silent auction, “sustainTABLE CHAIRity.” This silent auction comprises reclaimed furniture and up-cycled items produced by the students. Event proceeds benefit the students’ hands-on remodeling projects at local homeless shelters.

Leadership for social justice: Mount Mary’s Leadership for Social Justice Seminar encourages students to view their professional preparation in the context of leadership and social justice and equips them with the communication, critical and creative thinking skills necessary for leadership in a culturally diverse environment.

The seminar requires students to participate in an ecological footprint exercise, which estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain an individual’s consumption patterns and absorb waste each year. After completing the ecological footprint quiz, students participate in a rite of response that provides an opportunity for reflection and personal response to their quiz results.

United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals: A social sciences course discusses United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, which includes the global issues surrounding adequate food and nutrition and education and social equality. The course stresses the importance of the student’s personal responsibility to create awareness and participate in the solutions. The goal is for students to increase their awareness of their individual place in the ecosystem.

Climate change policies: Students in an introductory social sciences course are required to read State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World by the Worldwatch Institute. The book examines policy changes needed to combat climate change and explores the economic benefits that could flow from the transition, including the potential to create new industries and jobs in rich and poor countries.

Global conflicts and social transformation: This sociology course analyzes resource conflicts, broad global environmental issues and how nations try (or not) to deal with these issues. Throughout the course and reading James Speth’s “Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment,” students gain a global perspective of what various nations have tried, what’s been managed and what environmental issues have been difficult to solve.

Reducing science lab waste: Health sciences classes reduce biohazard waste in the classroom by limiting the number of dissections each semester.