Educate for Sustainability

A sustainable life of significance often starts in the classroom. Education for sustainability equips students with a profound understanding of connections between environmental, economic, social and political systems.

As a public liberal arts institution, Christopher Newport fosters an environment where students build upon a superb intellectual tradition and engage with their communities in meaningful ways. The primary goal of the Center for Sustainability in Education (CSE) is to embed sustainability in the academic lives of students, faculty and staff, which is in full alignment with the vision and spirit of the university. The CSE serves as a hub for students, faculty, staff and community leaders to work together to explore complex themes at the nexus of human and ecological well-being. In essence, the center is a fulcrum for leveraging the best of the liberal arts to learn about and solve sustainability challenges, which in turn provides an additional outlet to empower students to lead lives of significance.

If you are interested in studying sustainability, see the Courses Including Sustainability page for more information about classes that include content about sustainability. Often using the “Campus as a Living Lab” model, class discussions and projects engage students in robust conversations and hands-on experience, which contribute to making progress toward campus sustainability goals.

Students have additional opportunities to learn about environmental and societal sustainability topics through formal programming and immersive experiences. Paid and unpaid internships, fellowships, ambassador positions, and service opportunities are available on campus and in the community. See the links under Learn More.

Our professors lead study abroad/away programs that explore sustainability topics. Sustainable Living in Iceland, Hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Cultural Communication and Documentary Film in Belgium are three recent programs. Contact the Center for Sustainability in Education for a list of past offerings of sustainability-focused study abroad/away experiences.

CNU professors are thought leaders and doers. Below are some examples of faculty working in research that explores topics in sustainability.

  • Dr. Tarek Abdel-Fattah is developing environmentally and economically viable energy sources such as fuel cells and solar technology to help decrease dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Dr. Russell Burke and Dr. Chris Loy are exploring shoreline restoration and its community impact on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
  • Dr. Johnny Finn’s Living Together, Living Apart project explores racial segregation and encourages dialogue through photography, cartography and oral history.
  • Dr. Todd Gruber is studying proteins that can consume plastics to help reduce the burden of plastic waste on our ecosystems.
  • Dr. Christi Harris uses reclaimed materials such as vintage magazines and scrap paper in her collage artwork.
  • Dr. Danielle Stern and a student are researching how women in the black community negotiate and communicate experiences of vulnerability, particularly within predominantly white institutions of higher education.
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