A great and growing percentage of men and women have been informed about sustainability-related, ecological issues through their own networks, media, or even word of mouth. But although this message spreads and sprawls forth throughout our receptive minds, how much of it actually sticks? To truly understand the issues and how intrinsically important they are, the concepts of sustainability and ecological systems must be explained in an informative, yet accessible way, especially for the next generations of young adults graduating into the real, finite world we live in.
A job well suited for the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs, Dr. Richard Matthew, TML Director, Beth Karlin, and Ph.D. student affiliate, Nora Davis, published a paper in the Journal of Sustainability Education about this gap of knowledge. The paper, “GRASP: Testing an Integrated Approach to Sustainability Education,” is based on group projects formulated in Matthew’s Sustainability II class. It introduces and presents a preliminary pilot study of the Guided Research Applied Sustainability Project (GRASP) model for sustainability education. GRASP integrates the four domains of university-level curriculum, research, operations and engagement to, “create specialized projects that both engage students with real world issues and provide usable outputs for campus and/or community partners,” said Karlin.
Project topics range from integrating new digital tools to directly assisting non-profit organizations, and feature volunteer mentors from CUSA, as well as different sectors of UCI’s sustainability-focused entities. In short, Matthew, Karlin, and Davis have accomplished a critical next step in the overall overhaul of sustainability education for the world’s future generations.