CALL FOR PAPERS
Third Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development
April 12th-13th, 2013: Columbia University in the City of New York, USA
The graduate students in sustainable development at Columbia University are convening the Third Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development (IPWSD); scheduled for April 12th-13th, 2013, at Columbia University in New York City.
The IPWSD is a conference open to graduate students working on or interested in issues related to sustainable development. It is intended to provide a forum to present and discuss research in an informal setting, as well as to meet and interact with similar graduate student researchers from other institutions. In particular, we hope to facilitate a network among students pursuing in-depth research across a range of disciplines in the social and natural sciences, to generate a larger interdisciplinary discussion concerning sustainable development. If your research pertains to the field of sustainable development and the linkages between natural and social systems, we encourage you to apply regardless of disciplinary background.
For details, please see the call for papers, or visit our conference website where a detailed list of topics, conference themes and other information is available.
*The deadline has been extended to February 15th, 2013.*
Please share this information widely with graduate students and other interested parties. We look forward to seeing you in New York City in April!
With kind regards,
The Third IPWSD Planning Committee,
On October 26th and 27th, a few lucky students from each of the five University of Minnesota campuses had the opportunity to participate in SELF Sustain, a summit exploring students’ relationship to sustainability. This conference sparked new ideas for students to become engaged in sustainable practices on their campuses and influence others to do the same. As a group of highly motivated and intelligent young leaders, they were able to host a professional-level seminar to discuss world-scale problems and create thoughtful solutions.
The summit began with a meeting in the Kirby Student Center at University of Minnesota Duluth. Students were inspired by the expanse of Lake Superior visible through the window and the light, fluffy snow sprinkling through the air. The fall colors were fully visible, and participants were reminded of the environment they are trying to protect not as clearly seen in the cities. After a speech from UMD’s Chancellor Lendley Black the students were ready to begin their active collaboration on the subjects.
Following these speeches, students had the opportunity to participate in “lightning talks”- five minute presentations on subjects the speaker is passionate about. Topics ranged from composting to summer camps to green revolving funds. One student, Eric Sannerud, even shared a short version of a presentation he had given at the AASHE Conference in California a week earlier. It was like a student-directed TED seminar right here at the University of Minnesota.
After the talks, students grabbed an organic apple and headed out across campus for a sustainability tour. Here they learned about reclaimed steel walls, visited a LEED Platinum building, and learned about hybrid buses and solar-powered stadiums. UMD’s environmental considerations also include a local trout habitat and invasive goldfish, each posing a challenge to campus.
During dinner, students discussed how various environmental aspects interact and what makes them powerful. However, one of the most thought-provoking facets of the night was during the campfire at the Cloquet Forestry Center. Both students and staff members discussed environmental impacts at the University, finally leading to the intriguing question asked by Gaurav Kandlikar “What exactly are we trying to sustain?”
Students concluded that their goal was to “regenerate” the planet and the ecosystems that have been damaged by unstable development, as well as regenerate a healthy food system and a healthy planet. Only through maintaining the Earth ecosystem will we be able to sustain what is important.
The students woke up early to engage in a world-café style discussion and problem solving session on major issues the planet and the leaders of sustainability face. The groups brainstormed solutions to these issues, which included how to involve others in sustainability and rejuvenate the food system. They were so eager to fix these problems that many of the students continued these discussions throughout their ride home.
This event is important because it gives youth– our future– the ability to discuss and formulate plans that will influence generations to come. Oftentimes, undergraduates are overlooked, but they too have great ideas to offer that can change the world. And because they are constantly learning within the University setting, it is important that the environment and sustainability are addressed as well. The students are coming away from this experience hoping to influence others and make sustainable changes to their lifestyles and to the University of Minnesota, all for the better.
Written by Dominique Boczek
Although it seems like the semester just started, registration for spring classes is just around the corner. The next few weeks will be filled with a bustle of advising appointments, an overload of OneStop users, and a half-dozen trips per student to Schedulizer. While it is easy for students to stress over the concerns for the future and difficult graduation requirements, seeing the magnitude of available courses soon to be filled with like-minded people can also be inspiring.
An innovative new course this semester will be taught by Institute on the Environment Director Jon Foley. The course, called “Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?”, falls under the new category of “Honors Challenge Courses” where students participate in real-world exercises both inside and outside of the classroom. This will be Jon Foley’s first course at the University of Minnesota, and since Foley is an extremely busy guy, taking this course from him will be an exciting opportunity. “The course will be totally different than anything we’ve seen at the University before. Students will be confronting a major global challenge, be exposed to real world leaders on the topic from a variety of different organizations, and focus on serious problem solving,” said Foley.
Besides being the Director of IonE, Foley is constantly involved in the environmental community, taking special interest in food security and sustainability. In his work and travels, Foley spurs conversations among people with a broad range of opinions–from conversations with his 2,791 Twitter followers, to a conference in Australia with the Dalai Lama. Jon Foley is also famous for growing 40 varieties of fruit in his back yard in St. Paul (most of which were developed at the U), hosting a TED talk, and driving a Prius.
The prospect of this course focuses on the global food crisis that is affecting everyone from farmers in Iowa to the starving in sub-Saharan Africa. There are more people alive today than have ever died, and the population is continuing to grow at an alarming rate. With an extra two billion people to enter the world in the coming decades, we need to prepare for the challenges. The number of people on the planet has doubled in the past forty five years, and as developing countries transition to a larger middle-class , the food system becomes an exponential problem and may have to double by 2050. It’s a little known fact that “agriculture already impacts 40% of the Earth’s land surface, takes 70-90% of our water consumption, and contributes roughly 1/3 of our greenhouse gas emissions,” but it is an issue that needs to be addressed. Throughout the semester, Foley will explore the problems with this situation and challenge students to work on solutions. Together, the participants of the course will tackle the problem and produce ideas that could change the way the world works.
Students have asked if this class will be more work than usual, and Foley’s answer. “In this class, students are going to be really challenged — not just by traditional “book learning”, but mostly by engaging with some of the thorniest problems facing the world today, and working alongside world-class experts from business, NGOs, government and academia, that will be involved in this class over the semester. But with that work will come great rewards,” said Foley. “I’m incredibly excited to be teaching this class.”
Although this course falls in the Honors Category, the class is open to both Honors and non-Honors students. The course also fulfills the liberal education theme for the environment. Interested non-Honors students should contact register under the course title SUST 3480. For Honors students, this class will fulfill both course and non-course Honors Experiences.