Goal: Incorporate sustainability into the depth and breadth of every student's experience by including core concepts of sustainability in every applicable field and research opportunity and by using the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability.
Climate and sustainability are topics at Duke that stretch across disciplines, interconnect academics and operations, cross campus boundaries, reach into the community, and resound around the world. Realizing that climate change will impact nearly every career in the future, Duke University aims to create a climate and sustainability literate student body that not only understands the origins of climate change, but can address and mitigate these causes through the development and implementation of creative, scientifically informed, just, and responsible solutions. This goal can be met through multiple educational avenues including expanding coursework opportunities and connecting students to place-based research opportunities.
Multiple schools and majors at Duke already include sustainability learning outcomes within their degree programs and the number of students graduating within these programs has increased since 2010. However, the percentage of degrees compared to the total, which is between 33-34% of students annually, appears to have plateaued over the past 5 years. To further expand the reach to other degree programs, Duke is working with the leadership of each of its ten schools to identify the connections of their areas of focus to climate change and sustainability.
Sustainability Engagement Certificate
The undergraduate, experiential Sustainability Engagement Certificate was designed to facilitate learning and research that confronts the interconnections between environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability both inside and outside of the classroom. Since the beginning of the certificate program in 2016 it has grown to 21 undergraduate students, including 11 recent graduates.
Campus as Lab
Campus as Lab (CAL) is a Sustainable Duke program that seeks to develop the relationship between Duke University faculty and student research and its own campus and local communities. This partnership utilizes the campus as a living laboratory to study and solve the on-campus manifestations of global sustainability issues. Since the creation of the program in 2018, Sustainable Duke has cataloged over 65 projects in its CAL database, which serves as a tool for students and faculty to learn about past efforts and influence future endeavors.
Recent CAL Project Highlights
- Improving Food Security to Increase Resiliency to COVID-19 for Latinx Populations
- Sowers and Reapers: Gardening in an Era of Change
- Introducing the Trillium Student Research Initiative to Large Majors at Duke
Goal: Enhance understanding and foster changes in behavior among members of the Duke community that reduce greenhouse gas emissions at Duke.
During the pandemic, Sustainable Duke quickly adapted to a virtual world and developed new programming that has expanded the reach of its office. Sustainable Duke’s Green Devil interns developed a new Sustainability Ambassadors program in 2020 with the goal of holistically educating first-year students about climate change and sustainability both on campus and across the world. In the two years of the program’s existence, there have been over 50 students that have participated in the year-long program.
Sustainable Duke was also able to expand its reach of employee programming by hosting multiple workshops related to greening home offices that taught employees about ways to conserve energy, reduce waste, and prioritize wellness and stress reduction.
Sustainable Duke’s green certification program has continued to grow over the past two years and the metrics below show the reach of the program since inception.