Academic Partnerships: How Can Students Help Solve Real Sustainability Challenges in the Community

Main Hall
Sonoma State seeks to engage students and faculty with local governments, NGOs, and businesses to design real-world, practical solutions to the sustainability challenges they are facing. Students gain valuable practical experience that boosts their academic success and builds their resumes. Local organizations and businesses get access to a more highly trained workforce. Despite the immense advantages, two recurring challenges to these kinds of partnerships are that: (1) sustainability challenges are inherently interdisciplinary, while universities are structured into disciplinary silos, and (2) project needs and timelines do not always fit neatly into academic structures or schedules. One way that SSU is bridging the divide is through programs that regularly seek out sustainability challenges and assist in “crosswalking” those challenges into academic programs. Claudia Luke, Director of the Center for Environmental Inquiry, will interview leaders of four SSU programs that regularly seek to engage students, faculty, and community members in sustainability projects. Through Q & A, we will encourage discussion about ways to enhance these efforts to expand opportunities for student learning and support for regional sustainability projects.

Dr Thomas Jacobson, JD, MCP, FAICP

Director, Center for Sustainable Communities

Dr. Tim Wandling

Faculty Fellow, Center for Community Engagement

Dr. Adele Santana

Professor School of Business and Economics