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Lee Hall at Clemson University, Clemson South Carolina

“Sustainable Environment” is one of the University’s eight emphasis areas for economic development, and is notable because of the University’s academic strength in the field and a related industry presence in the state. Clemson students may choose from dozens of sustainability-related courses in various majors and minors, including the newly established interdisciplinary sustainability minor. By including it as an emphasis area and being a signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Clemson has been committed to making sustainability an integral part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students.

To ensure that sustainability is both addressed specifically and is integrated across the curriculum, the Sustainability Plan education action items were implemented:

  • Implement a series of major-specific courses that address sustainability concepts within the context of Clemson’s fields of study
  • Include sustainability as a theme in Science, Technology and Society courses
  • Expand and highlight opportunities to integrate sustainability into other courses or to develop new sustainability-focused courses, concentrating on first and second-year courses that reach a broad audience
  • Support faculty who incorporate sustainability in their courses
    • Offer incentive funding for revising courses to include sustainability
    • Continue and expand Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation workshops in “teaching sustainability across the disciplines”
    • Offer a faculty support network through a new or rechartered center or institute that will focus on sustainable education.

Sustainability Minor

The sustainability minor, which is open to all majors, is one of the first of its kind. The program is designed to familiarize students with the core values of sustainability, and gain an in-depth knowledge of why and how sustainability is approached.

If you are interested in minoring in sustainability, speak with your advisor or contact Jennifer Goree:

Catalog Description

Description: minor in Sustainability requires 18 credits, distributed as follows:

  • 3 credits of CU 2010, Sustainability Leadership2.
  • 12 credits of courses focused on sustainability issues from the following list3: AP EC 4570*, ARCH 3700*, ARCH 4710*, ARCH 4720*, BE 4640, BIOSC 2040*, BIOSC 3130, BIOSC 4410, CE 4360, CE 4370, ECE 4200, ECE 4610, ECE/ME 4570, ECON 3190, EE&S 4860, EN SP 2000, EN SP 4000*, ENR 4130, ENR 4500*, FOR 4340, GEOL 1200, GEOL 2700*, HIST 1240*, HON 2060 (Sustainable Energy Innovation), HON 2060 (Experimental Forest), HORT 1010, HORT 3080, HORT 4560, ME 4200, PHIL 3450*, PHYS 2450, PKGSC 3680*, R S 4010*, WFB 3130, WFB 4180, WFB 4300.
  • 3 credits of approved4 engagement activities (e.g., Creative Inquiry, study abroad, independent research, co-ops, capstone projects) that focus on sustainability issues.
  • At least 9 credits must be at the 3000-level or higher.
  • At least 3 and no more than 9 credits must be from the social dimension of sustainability (indicated by * on the list above).

Flow of the Minor

CU 2010, Sustainability Leadership, is intended as the first course students will take in the minor5. The course includes brief coverage of the student learning outcomes listed below. As part of this course, students work with the instructors to select learning objectives from this list and use these learning objectives to develop their plan for completing the minor. As part of this plan, students will choose 12 credits from the approved list of existing courses. Students will also identify at least 3-credits of engagement activities6.

Student Learning Outcomes

Scales of sustainability:

  • Define sustainability in 3 dimensions (environmental, social, economic)
  • Apply sustainability concepts on local and global scales
  • Integrate sustainability study and practice into the surrounding community
  • Evaluate the history of development through mercantilism, imperialism, capitalism
  • Assess the long term cultural and environmental impacts that shape our world today

Fundamental issues of sustainability:

  • Evaluate current and potential future impacts of sustainability issues including: Global climate and climate change; Food; Energy; Water; Environmental Degradation
  • Evaluate how sustainability impacts social and intergenerational justice

Systems thinking for sustainability:

  • Understand basic principles of systems thinking
  • Evaluate the role of their major in sustainability issues
  • Recognize interrelated systems

Evaluate tools for implementing/measuring sustainability:

  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of sustainability (see that it is not always more expensive)
  • Perform a Life cycle analysis and assessment
  • Measure impacts of point source pollution prevention; and cradle-to-cradle and lean manufacturing

Change agents for sustainability:

  • Practice change agent skills for sustainability
  • Practice group processes
  • Identify and address the root of problems, even when it seems to go against the status quo or social norms
  • Apply a new or changed mindset to your personal life
    • Approved and will appear in the 2014 catalog
    • This required foundation course will be offered in the spring semester. Contact Jennifer Goree,, with any questions.
    • Other courses may be submitted, through CU 2010 instructors, for approval for inclusion on this list.
    • Engagement activities will be approved by CU 2010 instructors if they meet learning objectives for the minor.
    • Students are encouraged to take CU 2010 early in their studies, but may seek approval for courses taken prior to enrolling in CU 2010.
    • An approved list of learning objectives, courses, and engagement activities will be maintained and students/faculty can submit new courses and projects for approval by showing how they meet specific learning objectives. This flexibility is critical due to the constant additions of courses and engagement activities related to sustainability.