Going Green in the Classroom
Educating a new generation for a sustainable future.
At Mount Mary, students are encouraged to broaden their horizons when considering living lightly on the earth. Environmental awareness is promoted in classes such as Environmental Science and Contemporary Environmental Issues. Minors in Environmental Studies are also offered within the Anthropology and Sociology departments.
Students can get first-hand experience in sustainability, eco-friendliness, green-design, organic farming and more in Study Abroad programs offered throughout the year. These educational journeys take place in Costa Rica, Scandinavia and other areas of the world.
Did you know?
Classes in the Health Sciences reduce biohazard waste within the classroom by limiting the number of dissections each semester.
Art and Design Division
Fashion: Fashion students presented their annual designer fashion show, "Redux" in May of 2009 in Kostka Theater. Parting ways with the traditional process of design, "Redux" demonstrated that tomorrow's style is about conservation and restoration. This revived manner of designing inspired students to create unique garments that best suit changing lifestyles and economies.
All of the show's designs were completed during the 2008-2009 academic year by 49 student designers majoring in Fashion Design. The designers drew inspiration from the past, while looking into the future – some used the knitting machine and worked in leather while others printed their own fabrics.
Interior Design:The Interior Design program offers Sustainable Design instruction that addresses historical, ethical, and global perspectives on environmental and sustainable issues. The program also encourages certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Interior Design Students created and displayed sustainable furniture designs at a special event held in Milwaukee in 2009 at Design Within Reach. In addition to presenting works from 18 student portfolios featuring photography, ceramics and an assortment of interior design projects, the event included "SustainTABLE CHAIRity," a silent auction of reclaimed furniture pieces produced by the students. Proceeds from the event benefitted student scholarships and local charities.
Leadership for Social Justice
Designed as a model that can be used by other institutions, the Leadership for Social Justice Seminar was developed to provide the context of leadership and social justice for students to see their subsequent professional preparation and to equip students with the communication and critical thinking skills necessary for leadership in a culturally diverse environment.
"Leadership for Social Justice" requires student participation in an Ecological Footprint exercise. The Ecological Footprint quiz estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain an individual's consumption patterns and absorb waste in an annual year. Following completion of the quiz, students participate in a rite of response that provides an opportunity for reflection and personal response to their quiz results.
Social Sciences and Related Disciplines Division
Mount Mary College's Social Sciences and Related Disciplines Division offers several opportunities for students to explore and become involved in environmental and sustainability issues including
- The United Nation's Millennium Development Goals are also studied and discussed in this course. Issues surrounding adequate food and nutrition, education and social equality on a global level are discussed. Students' personal responsibility in awareness and participation in the solution are stressed. Ultimately students are left with increased awareness of their individual place in ecosystem.
- "State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World" published by the Worldwatch Institute is required reading for students in an introductory social sciences course. 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 alike.
- Another sociology course, "Global Conflicts and Social Transformation" analyzes resource conflicts, broad global environmental issues and how nations are trying (or not) to deal with the issues. "Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment," by James Speth is required reading for this course. Speth was one of the co-founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and founder and President of the World Resources Institute.
Students gain global perspective on what various nations have tried, what's been managed and what environmental issues have been difficult to solve.
- Faculty attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December of 2009 in Copenhagen. The COP15 conference is the fifteenth Conference of the Parties under the United Nations' Climate Change Convention. This meeting parallels the Kyoto meeting that produced the Kyoto Protocol.
Students were required to read about the conference and track media coverage during and after the conference.
- Students taking sociology classes this fall will be collecting data on campus environmental strategies. They will assess how the College is managing its current environmental initiatives and will make recommendations for improvements and enhancements.
Graduate Program in Education
The Mount Mary College Graduate Program in Education partners with the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC), a non-profit teacher preparation and professional development center, to offer a Masters of Arts in Education degree. The goal of this partnership is to provide urban teachers with professional development experiences that connect theory and practice in ways that will positively impact the learning of students in K-12 schools.
Drawing on resources available through MTEC's Center for Sustainability coursework in this program challenges educators to examine ways in which environmental, economic, and educational issues are affecting and will affect K-12 schools. Teachers design and implement curricular projects to involve their students and their schools in sustainability initiatives.