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Sustainable Environments Program Wins Statewide Best Practice Award

SAN LUIS OBISPO -- The Sustainable Environments minor program in Cal Poly’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design (CAED) received a Best Practice Award for Sustainability in Academics from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC).

CHESC is an annual conference that highlights cutting-edge research and case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs and community partnerships. The event is jointly organized by the California state universities, and the University of California, in collaboration with independent and private colleges and California community colleges, creating the opportunity for dialogue  across institutions.

UCLA’s Education for Sustainable Living program was also awarded a Best Practice Award in the Sustainability in Academics category.

The CAED’s Sustainable Environments program offers a cross-section of Cal Poly students an opportunity to become informed about the principles and problems of sustainable environmental design with global, regional and local perspectives and concepts – and then to attempt to implement sustainable practices locally. The program teaches students from across all majors to integrate concerns for ecology, social equity and economics in the context of human and natural resource systems and the built environment.

The core requirement of the Sustainable Environments minor is a two-quarter, team-taught interdisciplinary sequence of Environmental Design (EDes) courses that has served as an international model for interdisciplinary undergraduate core education in sustainability. The Sustainable Environments core courses are team-taught by an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the College of Architecture & Environmental Design.

About the Sustainable Environments minor

More than 1,400 students, including students from every college at Cal Poly, have graduated with the Sustainable Environments minor.

In 2005 the Sustainable Environments program won the top national award for Ecological Literacy in Architectural Education from the American Institute of Architects, and in 2013 the program won a regional Green Award from the Central Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2011 Cal Poly Architecture Professor Jonathan Reich was awarded a Senior Fulbright Scholar grant to teach a version of the Sustainable Environments core courses at the University of Camerino in Ascoli Piceno Italy.

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