Clarkson University: A Leader In Sustainability
Re-published via GreenRegister.com with permission from Clarkson University.
Mark Bayer wanted to pursue two seemingly unrelated areas of study in college: civil engineering and sustainable design.
Officials at other schools he applied to â€ślooked at him funnyâ€ť when told them of his plans. But at Clarkson University, Bayer found his niche. Four years later, he is about to graduate with bachelor of science degree in a civil engineering and minor in sustainable energy systems.
Bayer is embarking on a masterâ€™s degree project that will study energy use in two of Clarksonâ€™s Woodstock Village apartment buildings soon to be renovated into sustainable â€śsmart dorms.â€ť
â€śIt has positioned me well. I know buildings, how theyâ€™re designed, how theyâ€™re constructed, but also how they operate when it comes to the energy they consume,â€ť said Bayer. â€śIt was a program I felt allowed me the flexibility to pursue my energy-related interests while still getting a civil engineering degree. Itâ€™s kind of an unconventional pairing.â€ť
Clarkson has been recognized for its â€śunconventional pairingsâ€ť: its knack for incorporating a sustainability curriculum into its education and research, allowing students like Bayer to thrive. The Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) has given Clarkson a silver rating for its initiatives.
The University excelled in the education and research ranking, where it scored 71 of a possible 100 points. Of 11 comparison schools in New York state, only Ithaca College and Columbia University had higher scores in that category. And of nine schools in the northeast â€“ the universities of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Amherst, Tufts, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia and Boston, only Columbia scored higher.
A video about Clarksonâ€™s innovative â€śenergy from food wasteâ€ť program
Clarkson has had a strong reputation for environmentally oriented research and academics for years, according to Susan Powers, the Jean â€™79 and Robert â€™79 Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems and associate director for sustainability in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment.
â€śOur recent STARS silver rating reflects our continuing commitment to incorporate sustainability into Clarksonâ€™s way-of-life,â€ť said Powers. â€śWe have been able to excel because of the campus-wide belief that sustainability research and education is a priority.â€ť
Academic programs such as the major in environmental science & policy, minor in sustainable energy systems and Clarksonâ€™s Adirondack Semester factored into the ranking, Powers said, while lessons in sustainability have also been weaved into other classes and majors across campus. Clarksonâ€™s sustainability themed clubs, such as ECO and the construction of a greenhouse featuring research on growing food in cost-effective ways during the winter, were also major factors in the rating.
Tiyi Brewster â€™13, an environmental science and policy major, has tried to take advantage of as many of those opportunities as possible. As a freshman, she got involved in ECO and spearheaded a â€śTake it or Leave it Programâ€ť that encouraged students to donate items they would otherwise throw away at the end of the semester; ECO then donated those items to charity.
Brewster first found out about ECO in her freshman year.
â€śIt resonated with me. They were like-minded souls,â€ť she said. â€śI enjoyed our time thinking about how we can bring environmental issues to the Clarkson campus.â€ť
Brewster has cultivated her passion in the environment during her Clarkson career. She traveled to Ecuador with the Engineers Without Borders program in order to create a â€śconstructed wetlandâ€ť that filters polluted water. She also participated in Clarksonâ€™s Adirondack Semester, which is open to students with a desire to immerse themselves in environmental studies against the backdrop of the Adirondack Park.
â€śItâ€™s something that has to be integrated into every part of your life to make it work,â€ť Brewster said of sustainability. â€śItâ€™s a lifelong search, a lifelong pursuit.â€ť
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the worldâ€™s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.
Image Credit: Clarkson University