Sustainability in the Core

Recently I asked students in my Environmental Ethics and Ethics of Global Climate Change classes what having the opportunity to think about the significance of our natural world has meant to their experience of the Gonzaga CORE curriculum. Here are three responses:


environmentaljobsBrad Dale, Class of 2017
Major: Finance
Hometown: Bellingham, WA

This class has brought an often neglected topic to the forefront and shown how relevant it is across many disciplines, including economics, politics, philosophy, business, biology, chemistry, and much more. It’s a topic with incredibly broad and deep implications. As a business major, I wish the content of this class was more strongly integrated into my business courses and core curriculum.

Gonzaga is home to a thoughtful, caring, intelligent, and respectful community. This community deserves to have more insightful knowledge and discussion around climate change and sustainability. Anthropogenic climate change is the most significant threat society faces and we have an ethical obligation to address its implications.

While there have been many influential courses in my time at Gonzaga, I can confidently say that The Ethics of Global Climate Change is one of most valuable and relevant to my life. I may be a finance major, but I will always remember the content of this course and will work diligently to consider climate change in my personal and professional life. Your major has no relevance when it comes to this class. To be an informed citizen you have an obligation to have knowledge around climate change and what future we are bringing upon ourselves. If we don’t take significant and progressive action soon we’re heading for a future that few are prepared for.


waterKayla Kassa, Class of 2017
Major: Civil Engineering
Hometown: Sandpoint, Idaho

After learning more about the role of the ecosystem and the effect that we humans have on it, I have become more invested in the question of “how can I use my major to benefit the environment around me?” Going into civil engineering I wanted to focus on the architectural and structural aspects of it. However, after struggling to find passion in that area, I was told to look into the environmental and water aspect of civil engineering. After completing the environmental and hydraulics engineering, and sustainable systems and design courses here at Gonzaga University, I found myself interested in this area of study. Along with these courses, last summer I completed an undergraduate research project at the Oklahoma State Water Resources Center. At the Center, I researched the processes that affect the hydrology and geomorphology of streams. Although engineering was a big part of this project, I soon learned that the biology played just as big of a role in it, if not bigger. My interest in the environment led me to enroll in the environmental ethics course this fall semester. This course opened my eyes to become more aware of my surroundings and to make sure that anything I do with my engineering career will benefit the environment, rather than cause further disruption. As well as asking myself the same question as stated above, I now ask myself “how can I live my life today to cause the least disruption to our ecosystem?” This course has taught me to value the beauty in nature and to make small changes in my everyday life to benefit the environment. I now recycle more, I reduced the thermostat by a few degrees, I reduced my meat intake by over half, I switched to vegan beauty products, and I try to walk or ride my bike when I can. I have made these changes because I believe that living a sustainable life is our duty to this earth.


uisrsffx-480x480Paul Leonnetti, Class of 2018
Major: Public Relations
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, WA

Learning about the concept and applications of sustainability allows students to interact in the world with a greater perspective on the systems and projects they will be contributing too. Sustainability is the practice of doing and creating in such a way that may be continued indefinitely into future generations. In this case, sustainability is a framework on how we interact with the world, and it crosses over a plethora of coursework, degrees, and careers. With the current state of the global environment in mind, I believe it essential that all students are exposed to the subject of sustainability at some point within their education at Gonzaga University. Not only may it put students ahead in competition, innovation, and creative production, it may also prove to further the rate of healing of our planet needs to see in the next decades and century. As we begin to think and apply sustainable ways of living and working, our future businesses and careers may have a greater chance to be successful and so may our planet, and it can start in the college classroom.

Sustainability can be applied to engineering, business, politics, and a range of other materials. It is a part of the mission of Gonzaga University, and it would be an incredible benefit to the education of students and to the school to begin to incorporate sustainability into a variety of classes and subjects.

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