Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the
curriculum for all students.
The College's academic program is keenly focused to help students develop the skills and creativity that will be required of a new generation of leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and artists faced with the perilous challenges ahead. Courses designed to increase environmental literacy are interwoven throughout the curriculum, with highly multidisciplinary examinations of the physical, social, and geopolitical issues associated with climate change.
Recent courses linked directly to climate change and sustainability include Global Change Ecology; Food and Agriculture; Building Healthy Communities; Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy; Marine Conservation Ecology; Earth Climate History; Paleo-oceanography; Environmental Education; Sustainable Architecture; Coral Reef Biology; Sustaining Maines Northern Forest; and Telling Environmental Stories.
The Climate Neutrality Implementation Plan targets several key areas of projected growth in the academic program that will widen the impact of Bowdoin College's environmental literacy efforts and give students new opportunities to connect their learning with real-world environmental challenges.
Encouraging Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Because climate change is happening so rapidly, disciplines across the Academy will need to be reinvigorated within an environmental context. In recent years, Bowdoin has brought leading environmentalists to campus and developed several education initiatives linked to climate change and sustainability, including symposia on indigenous environmental knowledge; cultural and social responses to climate change; and polar responses to a warming world.
The College is exploring several new approaches to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and programs so that Bowdoin can help lead discussions about new frontiers in climate change scholarship and research.
The Environmental Studies Program is extending its outreach to other academic programs, including Earth System Science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics, math), Africana Studies (Africana studies, history, sociology/anthropology), and Psychology. It is hoped that these multidisciplinary clusters will lead to new courses, research, or a shared speaker series around the topic of climate change.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Expanded Sustainability Research Opportunities
Core courses in the Environmental Studies Program engage students directly with important sustainability research affecting the region, including service learning projects analyzing phosphorous pollution, water quality, and land history of the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers.
The College's two off-campus research stationsthe Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island and the Coastal Studies Center (CSC) on Orrs Islandalso offer students and faculty unique opportunities for coastal ecology studies. Bowdoins Merrymeeting Bay/Kennebec Estuary Research Program has involved dozens of Bowdoin faculty and students since 2001 and is yielding significant field data to help state and federal restoration efforts of this unique estuarine waterway.
The College is developing expanded missions for these coastal field stations and programs. Among the possibilities is the development of a summer institute at the CSC, where scholars and students from around the country could participate in courses and research related to coastal issues and the environment.
Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the
achievement of climate neutrality.
Students, faculty, and staff at the College are developing innovative approaches to solving climate change at the local, regional, and national level, and will continue to do so through community-based learning and research; student summer and academic year fellowships; student internships and volunteerism; off-campus study experiences; faculty and staff service; and College-community engagement.
Beginning in fall 2009, the Environmental Studies Program began to offering its first capstone course, which focuses specifically on the development of climate action plans for two area communities. Other ongoing community action programs include Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowships and Common Good Day.
This year, the student chapter for Habitat for Humanity is working to connect students on campus with a regional weatherization program. Students will be trained in weatherization techniques and then participate in projects to weatherize homes of low income residents. This initiative is one example of how students participate in community service while also having a direct impact on reducing energy usage in the greater community. In cooperation with the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, the College will identify other opportunities for students to engage with area agencies in order to work directly on projects that can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions both on and off campus.