As an institution of higher education, West Chester University’s primary roles in meeting the challenges of sustainability and climate change are to educate, conduct research, and provide public service. Through these efforts we have an opportunity to instill the knowledge and values of sustainability within our campus and community. At West Chester University, we promote the stewardship of an Earth on which life flourishes into a future of increasing prosperity and opportunity, without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations of humans and other life. Sustainability requires an understanding of the inter-connected relationship of environmental, societal, and economic issues and resources at both the local and global levels. West Chester University graduates will be prepared to transform their understanding of those connections into a life-long commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible local and global citizenship.
The Brandywine Projects, held throughout the year, are a wonderful way to for WCU community members to engage in conversation and learn more about campus sustainability. The Brandywine Projects are organized as sustainability workshops for faculty, staff, and students with the ulitmate goal of incorporating sustainability into every aspect of campus life. These workshops generally include presentations about what West Chester has done in the past to reach their sustainable goals as well as what plans are set for the future. Interactive breakout sessions occur throughout the workshop to get participants networking, brainstorming, and discussing different topics that are directly relevant to our local campus community and environment, integrating the local and the global. In January of 2019, the very first Brandywine Project Alumni Summit was held, bringing together a collection of past participants to work together on a collective project. Find information on upcoming workshops on the Brandywine Project page.
Integrating sustainable theories and practices into the curriculum at WCU is critical to expanding sustainable practices. Investing time into educating students, faculty and staff will produce long-lasting results long after alumni have left the campus. Below are materials for teaching about sustainability that have been developed by WCU faculty, staff, students, and affiliated community members.
Richard Whiteford, Climate Reality Project and community member of the WCU Sustainability Advisory Council, on the urgent need to address rising carbon dioxide levels in the Journal of Earth Science & Climate Change, “Why CO2 Levels should be the Issue of Critical Concern as Opposed to Putting Economic Concerns at the Top”
WCU Research Guide: A research guide for Environmental Sustainability from West Chester University Libraries
Dr. Paul Morgan, Professional & Secondary Education, Speeding Toward Paris, Emissions Accomplished?
“This may be the last best chance to reach a global agreement to reduce emissions enough to avoid overshooting the target of a two degrees Celsius average rise in global surface temperature above preindustrial levels. Beyond that number we invite ‘climageddon.’”
TEDx Talk by Dr. Paul Morgan, Professional & Secondary Education How Postmodern Humans Can Wake Up and Find Their Groove.
Interested in learning more about sustainability? Students have a wide variety of options to choose from at WCU, ranging from formal degree programs to general-interest courses. Sustainability is not centralized in one academic department on campus, so students are encouraged to contact the specific department offering the program of particular interest.
View a full list of all of the sustainability courses that West Chester offers.
- Biology - Ecology and Conservation
- Education for Sustainability
- Environmental Health
- Nutrition - Sustainable Food Systems Management
- Geography and Planning - Environmental Geography
- Minor in Sustainability and Resilience
- Applied Community and Environmental Sustainability (ACES) Minor
- Sustainability Pathway Certificate
- B.S. Urban and Environmental Planning
Additional Programs for Students Interested in Careers in the Environmental Field
Faculty Research on Sustainability-Focused Topics at WCU
Below you will find a link to an inventory documenting full and part-time faculty members at West Chester University who conducted research related to one or more of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals between the fall semester of 2018 and the end of summer sessions of 2019. These 73 faculty members represent 29 separate academic departments on campus and collectively are addressing research questions related to most of the 17 SDGs. Information for this inventory was collected by an electronic survey distributed to all 980 full‐ and part‐ time faculty in September 2019 by WCU's Office of Sustainability working in collaboration with Professors Lisa Calvano (Management) and Joan Welch (Geography & Planning).
Find the full list of faculty research projects addressing the UN SDGs here .
Digital Commons - WCU Campus Sustainability Initiatives
Passionate faculty and students at WCU seek to use their research to understand and appreciate how the natural world and humanity can co-exist. A collection of reports, presentations, and surveys can now be found on the Digital Commons Sustainability Research and Creative Activities page, showcasing their hardwork and dedication. You can access the 2018 Commuter and Parking Survey, previous proposals for the Sustainability Research and Creative Activities Grant, The WCU Landscape Master Plan, as well as data from a mapping project on the invasive species, the Spotted Lantern Fly, in the Gordon Natural Area. If you have a report, poster, or presentation you would like to add to this collection, please contact Walter Cressler, Department of University Libraries.
WCU Campus Sustainability Research and Creative Activities Grant
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at West Chester University sponsors a Campus Sustainability Research and Creative Activities Grant each year with a Request for Proposals released in the early Spring semester with the Award Cycle extending from March 1st to June 30th of that same year. In the most recent grant application cycle, accessible through WCU’s InfoReady website, grants of up to $2,000 (a total $8,000 available) were solicited. Notice of the release of the annual Request for Proposals is made via email messages to all faculty and via Office of Sustainability email bulletins.
Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar
Another successful Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar series has wrapped up for the Fall 2021 semester! The Office of Sustainability, the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs, and the Sustainability Council's Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee extends its gratitude to all the speakers who shared their time and knowledge with our audience. If you missed a presentation you had been looking forward to, don't worry! You can find recordings on the Digital Commons site for Sustainability Research and Creative Activities.
The Sustainability Research and Practice Seminar will be back for the Spring 2022 semester with another lineup of fascination speakers. Keep checking back for details!
Schedule of Speakers - Fall 2021
9/8 Meteorologist Drew Anderson, Earth and Space Sciences - Communicate Sustainability Successfully: How to Connect with Your Audience
9/15 Dr. Nur Ritter, Office of Sustainability - A Too Brief Visit to an Ecological Treasure: WCU's Gordon Natural Area (This week only: Meet at the entrance to the GNA on South Campus. Weather Permitting.)
9/22 Dr. Bradley Flamm, Office of Sustainability - Getting to Neutral: Updating WCU's Climate and Sustainability Action Plan
9/29 Ms Amy Maxcy, Office of Sustainability - Waste Reduction at WCU: Benchmarking Systems with the Atlas Zero Waste Program
10/6 Professor Hadih Deedat, Undergraduate Social Work - Disasters and BIPOC Communities: The Imperativeness of Sustainability
10/13 Professor Paul Morgan, Educational Foundations and Policy Studies - Education for Sustainability: Linking Schools and Communities in Philadelphia
10/20 Professor Charles Hardy, History - Co-Creating a Pedagogy of the Great Acceleration, the 6th Mass Extinction, and the Climate Crisis
10/27 Professor Lisa Huebner, Women's & Gender Studies - Sustaining Diversity in Higher Education: The Importance of Investigating Success
11/3 Professor Janneken Smucker, History - 'Black Power': Sustainability, Empowerment, and Quilts in the Tennessee Valley Association
11/10 Professor Jen Chandler, Biology - Getting out of a Sticky Situation: Differential Escape of Spotted Lanternfly from Two Commonly-Used Trapping Techniques
11/17 Professor Scotty Reifsnyder, Art + Design - Creative Collaborations: Graphic Design for Sustainability Advocacy
12/1 Professor Anita Foeman, Communication and Media - Why Science is Important to Us All: Identity and Environment