By: Ryan Bourgart
Sustainability isn’t just a subject to study in the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Miami University’s environmental department. Sustainability derives meaning from practical application that “address[es] environmental problems and promote[s] a more sustainable society.” Implementing sustainable solutions is a key component of the IES curriculum, specifically in IES 474: Sustainability in Practice.
IES 474 is a collaborative class in which students work in a group on a project that solves a problem in a sustainable way. This semester, there are six groups each working on a separate project for a real-world client. The projects are the following:
- Boardwalk construction plan at Ruder Preserve with Three Valley Conservation Trust
- Pollinator city plan for Oxford with Three Valley Conservation Trust (TVCT)
- Sustainable energy movement in Ohio with Green Energy Ohio
- Contacting student sustainable organizations with Green Energy Ohio
- Social media strategies for 4Paws for Ability (4Paws)
- Puppy house design for 4Paws for Ability
The collaboration with TVCT involves two projects. The boardwalk construction plan is a local project at Ruder Preserve, which is located at the intersection of Bonham Road and Shadowy Hills Drive, with the intent to make the preserve ADA accessible so everyone can enjoy. The plan will extend the existing boardwalk, add a small parking lot and create spaces for educational programs while perpetuating the natural beauty. The pollinator city project involved brainstorming ideas with TVCT and active community members in order to develop a plan for Oxford to become a Designated Pollinator City.
The Green Energy Ohio projects involve a journalism team focused on communication and the student engagement team focused on outreach. The journalism team is writing stories about the efforts of four companies (Melink, Go Sustainable Energy, EcoHouse Solar and Apex Clean Energy) to spread the sustainable energy movement across Ohio. The student engagement team is promoting partnership with environmental student organizations from colleges and universities across Ohio and developing programs to support next generation green energy leaders.
The projects with 4Paws involve marketing and architectural design. The marketing team is tasked with the development of social media strategies for 4Paws for their 20th Anniversary Capital Campaign, which will emphasize funding for the new puppy house. The second team is focusing on creating a design for the puppy house. Research on sustainable aspects of the design was conducted during the spring semester and helped inform the current team’s work.
The work of students in IES 474 will be disseminated on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Shideler Hall room 152. You are welcome and encouraged to attend and learn more about local sustainability efforts. Spreading the implementation of sustainability is the goal of these projects. IES 474 is a class that provides the opportunity for students to implement their education in sustainability. The IES curriculum is designed to educate students as professionals and global citizens. The students in the program are prospective leaders that, through increasing involvement in sustainability, will help transition to a more benevolent society with a more secure future.
Photos from Scott Johnston and Bill Garber.