UVM's Undergraduate General Education Requirement in Sustainability

The General Education Sustainability Requirement and Transfer Credit website is here, as part of the Faculty Senate's website. That's where you'll find practical information about how UVM's requirement works, the rationale, learning outcomes, history and related processes and documents. 

This website page below provides a brief description of how the requirement came about, and involvement by the Office of Sustainability. 

In 2015 UVM created a General Education requirement in Sustainability, following years of a successful faculty training program and successive generations of students and others advocating for the requirement. The UVM Environmental Council (1996-2008) hosted a graduate fellowship of 20 hours per week, nine months per year for several years; the fellows supported the Sustainability Faculty Fellows program and

The  Environmental Council became the Office of Sustainability (OoS) in 2008. in 2012 Tarah Rowse produced a report Teaching Sustainability at UVM describing the Sustainability Faculty Fellows program and its results. Successive graduate students worked in the OoS under the tutelage of OoS' faculty advisor, Dr. Stephanie Kaza, who also was Environmental Studies director. and students to advance sustainability education through the curriculum. One of those students was Mikayla McDonald, Environmental Council intern and active member of the student club VSTEP.

In 2014 the Student Government Association passed a resolution in support of the requirement, and SGA senator Mikayla McDonald gave a speech to the Faculty Senate, a speech so compelling that it deserves to be called the turning point in the conversation. The requirement was approved by the Faculty Senate and by the Board of Trustees before taking effect.  As of Fall 2015 all newly matriculating undergraduate students must satisfy the three-credit Sustainability requirement before they can graduate. 

Students can now meet the requirement by taking a Sustainability course, curriculum or co-curricular module approved by the Faculty Senate’s Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee (SCRC). The Sustainability courses are noted by the designation SU in their titles listed in Banner and the University Catalog.   The requirement is noted in the CATS Degree Audits of new students.  Students, including transfer students, may petition the SCRC for Sustainability transfer credit for a course taken at another accredited institution, or a non-course alternative experience that the student believes meet the criteria set by the SCRC.