Sustainability Studies Program

Healthy, Happy People...

                     Thriving Communities and Economies...                            

Resilient, Supportive Ecosystems...

... are intertwined and depend on each other for their continued existence.

All three form the heart of Sustainability Studies.

RWU's Sustainability Studies Program facilitates deeper student exploration of complex interrelationships among contemporary environmental, social, and economic problems and the solutions to overcome them. In addition, SUST-related courses will help students articulate personal philosophies to guide more sustainable lifestyles (i.e. choices for resource use and other behaviors). After completing a Sustainability Studies core concentration or minor, students should have the interdisciplinary knowledge to think clearly and critically about the complexity of problems facing humans from local to global scales including pollution, resource management, social equality, long-term economic stability, biodiversity loss, and climate change, among many other issues.

In addition, with a rich, interdisciplinary vocabulary and systems-centered worldview, students will be able to communicate across disciplines and more effectively work as part of teams engaged in seeking solutions to problems of sustainability within the business sector, government and non-governmental agencies, the public policy realm, and environmental organizations, among other institutions. In short, the acquisition of a broader, synthetic understanding of complex contemporary sustainability-related issues will allow RWU graduates to contribute more effectively in their future careers and as public citizens to help create a more sustainable future for humanity and other species on Earth.

For an overview of the topics included in the three SUST program, review example course schedules for SUST 101 (pdf), SUST 301 (pdf) and SUST 401 (pdf).

Why should students consider taking the SUST courses?

Alicia and Scott provide two perspectives below and other faculty and students provide their responses here. Also, to learn more about why Sustainability Studies is one of the fastest growing programs at RWU and is relevant to all students from all majors, click through the links on the left or below.

alicia_wilson"I have been passionate about the issues of sustainability since high school and was intent on integrating the subject into my college studies. The minor complements my marine biology degree  and I was even more pleased to use Sustainability Studies as a core concentration, confirming its true interdisciplinary nature. The knowledge and tools learned in the SUST courses will help me in my future career and lead me to a more sustainable lifestyle."

                                      - Alicia Wilson, Marine Biology, Class of 2015


scott_yonan"To study sustainability is to study hope for the future. We have a world population that is growing rapidly and we have dwindling resources for that population. If we don’t educate ourselves about living our lives in a sustainable manner, then nothing else matters. If we do not have sufficient fresh water to drink, clean air to breathe,  healthy food to eat, green spaces to walk in or energy for our homes, nothing else will matter; art won’t, music won’t, making money won’t, sports won’t, education won’t, family won’t. Unless we have educated people who know how to respond to the realities we face, we’re all in big trouble. Studying sustainability is about learning how to preserve our resources, finding healthy new resources to fulfill our basic human needs, and conserving a diversity of life on Earth, all as a means to ensure we increase and maintain the well-being of humans for many generations to come."

          -Scott Yonan, Assistant to Vice President of Student Affairs, Class of 1977  (Psychology and American Studies)