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New sustainability class brightens CNM’s future

By Daniel Johnson,  Editor In Chief

The fall semester of 2014 at CNM is utilizing the idea of sustainability by having a new class SUST-1134 Intro to Sustainability which is going to teach students the different ways man kind can progress forward while leaving less of a carbon footprint in the process, said Campus as a Living Lab Liaison Carson Bennett.

The sustainability class is an introduction to con­cepts used to make an environment more planet, profit, and people friendly which is also called the 3 Ps, he said.

“The idea is to identify a problem and figure out a way to solve it with an envi­ronmental, socially equitable, and eco­nomical solution, all while making people and the planet happy,” Bennett said.

The renova­tions to buildings on campus which will allow them to use less energy by providing more windows to allow for more natural lighting is an example of an eco­nomical solution, he said.

Natural light is also proven to make people work more efficiently and feel more comfortable while inside the building, which is a socially equi­table solution, he said.

For the environmental solution products used are made out of recycled and environmentally safe materials and when all of this is done you have found a sustainable solution to make a building more energy efficient, he said.

“Creative problem solving is something that I really love about this class, you are able to look at the world today and see problems that you can solve with the information you will learn in this class,” Bennett said.

The class will look at examples of how problems have been solved in sustainable ways in the past as well as ways that seemed sustainable but have failed, he said.

The class will allow the students to access the same information and statistics that big businesses like CNM use to make decisions on renovations and building concepts, he said.

“The class will also discuses if it is truly possible to find a solution to problems that can last forever or at least last a really long time,” Bennett said.

Once a 3 Ps concept is reached the class will dis­cusses if the solution can be used in other fields or if it can be utilized globally or just locally, he said.

The class will consist of hands on learning, read­ing, lecture, field trips, and a lot of group discussions, he said.

“Students who take this class will be at the ground floor for the new direction the school is spending a lot of time and energy to go in,” Bennett said.

The class has a required service project so students will be able to help local businesses find sustainable solutions to prob­lems that they need assistance with, he said.

The class will count as a Liberal Arts and Sciences elective, he said.

“One really cool thing about the class is that it transfers directly to UNM as a sustainability intro class for the sustainability minor degree that can be achieved there,” Bennett said.

The class will be a part of the Campus as a Living Lab because students will study how the projects on campus relate to the 3 Ps concepts, he said.

Campus as a Living Lab is the idea of turning a campus into a learning opportunity for students, he said.

Different classes use renovations and construction proj­ects to educate stu­dents in the areas they are studying like math, science, engineering or statis­tics, he said.

There were four Campus as a Living Lab projects put into place in the fall semester of 2013, he said.

The biggest one of the four was the recycle mania event, which started as a competition but then evolved into a teaching opportunity because faculty would use the event data to teach different types of learning out­comes to students in their classes, he said.

Data was used for behavioral phycology concepts and statistics in a couple of psychology classes, he said.

CNM installed solar panels at four different locations that can be used for educational purposes by classes like chemistry, physics, and a few of the applied technology classes, he said.

“I would love for students to be able to look at the world, the nation, classes or in their own families and say, hey I can use the 3 Ps to solve this problem and solve it for good,” Bennett said.

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