This course examines the concept of sustainability including its history, current meanings and applications. The class looks for evidence of the emerging sustainability revolution in socio-economic sectors and uses Elon University as a case study for understanding the complexity, challenges and successes of an institution’s journey to become more sustainable. Elon University’s Sustainability Master Plan was adopted in 2007. An ambitious plan that involves all stakeholders and elements of campus life, the primary goal is to become a carbon neutral campus within the next 30 years. Numerous initiatives seek to engage students outside of the classroom in learning to live more sustainably. Students in this winter term class work in research teams to pose questions about energy use on campus. Research projects involve development of a focused question, data retrieval and analysis, interpretation of the results in an economic and social context through interviews with various campus administrators and proposals to advance the goal of becoming carbon neutral. Students present their findings and recommendations to the university’s Sustainability Coordinator. Satisfies the non-lab science requirement of the Elon Core Curriculum program. 


4 sh

Future Course Number

ENS 1020

Course Types





No credit toward the Environmental Studies major, the Environmental and Ecological Science major or Environmental and Sustainability Studies minor.

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