Education & Community Outreach
Evergreen State College The
Nurturing Sustainable Lifestyles in the South Sound Photos By Evergreen College
rom edible forest gardens to a salmon-safe certified organic farm to campus housing options in which students consciously choose a different way to relate to their natural world, Evergreen provides students with the opportunity to learn to attune themselves with nature, embark on new ways of thinking and gain knowledge that will help the South Sound progress as a center for green technology, business and living. It also provides a model for communities and colleges far beyond the South Sound. With coursework that integrates concepts of biology and ecology, conservation, community service and sustainable ways of engaging in business, politics, agriculture, art, management, history, economics, social work, science, teaching and music, Evergreen students are preparing to thrive in a greener economy. Washington State’s 2008 Climate Action and Green Jobs bill specifies that the current number of green jobs in the state should triple by 2020. Evergreen students are practicing green business development now. Students recently launched the Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship, an effort to gain business skills and effectively use them in ways that are also socially responsible.
The Living Classroom Evergreen’s thousand-acre campus features miles of trails, a half mile of beach on Puget Sound, wetlands, forests and even an organic farm. Eighty percent of Evergreen’s land is not built up. Most of it is used as a living classroom. Beyond even that, the trees soak up and store a huge amount of carbon – keeping it out of our atmosphere.
Natural Food, Close to Home Evergreen’s organic farm is used to teach a broad range of courses such as small-scale organic agriculture, ethnobotany, visual arts, beekeeping, forest ecology, ecological agriculture, and the science of food and cooking. Organic produce grown at the farm is served in campus eateries, sold through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and a twice-weekly farm stand on campus, and donated to local food banks. When you buy from local organic farmers, you’re not only eating food grown in a more natural way, you are also helping to reduce the pollution generated by transporting food long distances.
Teaching Sustainability While other colleges are experiencing a reduction in coursework related to sustainability and the environment, Evergreen is increasing the integration of these topics. Its distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum creates opportunities for integrated learning not possible at other colleges. Beyond the undergraduate curriculum, Evergreen also offers a rigorous Masters in Environmental Studies program that integrates the biological, physical, and social sciences with studies in public policy. The Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education at Evergreen has launched the Curriculum for the Bioregion, an effort that focuses on Page 6 l Green Living 2009