Missouri University of Science and Technology now offers a multi-disciplinary minor in sustainability for S&T undergraduates. The program was approved for the 2011-2012 academic year by the Missouri S&T Faculty Senate.
Dr. Joel Burken, chair of the sustainability minor advisory board and professor of civil and environmental engineering, describes sustainability as “the long-term vision of a society operating to meet the needs of individuals in the responsible use of materials, energy and natural resources without compromising the needs of future generations.”
Sustainability covers many fields of study, including social and natural sciences, engineering, and business, says Dr. Dev K. Niyogi, associate professor of biological sciences and a member of the sustainability minor advisory board. “Students who graduate with this minor will be equipped to evaluate efficient energy and materials usage while considering the impact of water use, the health impacts of pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions and economic viability in a global society,” Niyogi says.
Developing environmentally sustainability economies will become increasing important in a global society, say Burken and Niyogi.
“As the planet has reached a population of 7 billion people, the need for efficient use of fossil fuels is greater than ever, and the drive to develop new renewable energy systems has yet to be fulfilled,” Burken says. “To maintain and improve a viable living environment globally, current strategies must be improved to feed, house, educate and care for the increasing population. The challenges also grow more difficult with an increasing global need and competition for a finite, shrinking pool of available natural resources. ”
Sustainability applies to corporations, businesses and society as new technologies and practices are necessary to meet future needs, Burken says. “Our country needs to be a leader in sustainable approaches, while it leads the world to a greater future.”
Joining Burken and Niyogi on the sustainability minor advisory board are Missouri S&T faculty members Dr. Bonnie Bachman, professor of business and information technology; Dr. Michael Davis, associate professor of economics; Dr. Irina Ivliyeva, assistant professor of Russian; Dr. Daniel Oerther, the John and Susan Mathes Chair of Environmental Engineering; Dr. Thomas Schuman, associate professor of chemistry; and Dr. Jeff Schramm, associate professor of history and political science.
The sustainability minor is available to any Missouri S&T student, regardless of major. For more information, visit sustainability.mst.edu.