Academic Sustainability
Programs Office

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS:

Sustainable Future Program (SUSTAIN)

Enroll in SUSTAIN 2S03 today! Spaces are still available and there are no prerequisites required. 

The Sustainable Future Program (SFP) consists of a suite of undergraduate courses focused on providing students with the opportunity for interdisciplinary, student-led, community-based, and experiential education focused on sustainability. Courses in the program are open to students from all Faculties.

Overview

McMaster developed the Sustainable Future Program for students interested in learning about sustainability while having the opportunity to engage in experiential learning through developing and implementing real-world sustainability initiatives. The Sustainable Future Program (SFP) aims to build reciprocal relationships between students, community members and McMaster University to engage all parties in the journey towards a sustainable future.

Objectives

The specific objectives of the Sustainable Future Program are as follows:

  • Teach students about sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Provide the opportunity for self-directed, interdisciplinary and experiential learning.
  • Support student learning within the University and local community.
  • Engage undergraduate students in taking part in meaningful, experiential research.
  • Foster opportunities for students to place local knowledge and local action within a global context.

Reporting

To promote interdisciplinarity, instructors and teaching assistants come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, course content is pulled and presented to students from multiple perspectives, and strides are taken to ensure a truly interdisciplinary learning environment. One way we provide an interdisciplinary learning environment is through maintaining enrollment caps at the Faculty level to ensure student representation from all Faculties. All courses in the program include an experiential learning project to provide students with the opportunity for self-directed, community-based, and experiential learning. Within the level-three and level-four courses, students work in interdisciplinary groups, with support from a community project champion, to develop and implement a sustainability project. All projects include undergraduate-level research to varying degrees and provide students with opportunities to develop skills and experiences for future academic research, if they choose.

Since launching the first course in the Winter of 2013, which had an enrollment of 97 students, the three Sustain courses supported nearly 300 students in the 2015/16 academic year. By doubling the offering of Sustain 1S03 and adding the fourth course, Sustain 4S06, in 2016/17, Program-wide enrollment is anticipated to reach 500 students per year by 2018/19.

Collaborators

We would like to thank the faculty members, course Teaching Assistants, and community members for supporting student enrolled in the Sustain courses as well as for supporting continuous course and Program development. Our sincerest appreciation extends to the hundreds of students who have contributed by taking courses and providing feedback for continuous improvement. We would also like to extend a special thanks to the Faculty of Engineering and Engineering & Society Program for providing guidance and administrative support for the Sustainable Future Program.

 

Courses

Sustain 1S03

Introduction to Sustainability

An introduction to sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective which examines the historical and societal lenses through which sustainability is viewed. Students will learn terminology, theories and concepts to effectively communicate across disciplines and on various topics of sustainability.

  • Offered first and second term
  • One three-hour lecture
  • One one-hour tutorial
  • Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level I or above
  • Enroll Now

Sustain 2S03

Evaluating Problems and Sustainable Solutions

Students will learn how to identify problems and evaluate sustainable solutions to societal problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course will involve active experiential learning which emphasizes actions on local projects.

  • Offered first and second term
  • One three-hour lecture
  • One one-hour tutorial
  • Registration in Level I or above
  • Enroll Now

Sustain 3S03

Implementing Sustainable Change*

Exploring agency, leadership, and strategy effectiveness within the context of sustainability. The course will include interdisciplinary perspectives, experiential learning and community engagement projects.

  • Offered first term
  • One three-hour lecture
  • One one-hour tutorial
  • Registration in Level III or above
  • Enroll Now

*Previously Sustain 3A03 – Societal Tools for Systemic Sustainable Change

  

Sustain 4S06

A/B – Leadership in Sustainability

Final-year course where students gain leadership skills and apply them by working in interdisciplinary teams to develop and implement a sustainability-focused project within the community.

  • Full year course (Sept – May)
  • One three-hour lecture
  • Prerequisite(s): Sustain 3S03 or permission of the instructor
  • Enroll Now

 

Request for Course Permission

Request Course Permission for Sustain 2S03

Sustain 2S03 Request for Course Permission

SUSTAIN 2S03: Evaluating Problems and Sustainable Solutions is offered through the Academic Sustainability Programs Office as part of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. This course assumes a foundation in interdisciplinary teamwork, project management, community engagement, and personal reflection. Students who have not taken SUSTAIN 1S03 or a Sustainability Internship should anticipate additional work to account for the lack of prerequisites. Please refer to the course syllabus posted at asp.mcmaster.ca to review the course-specific overview and learning outcomes.Students wishing to enrol in Sustain 2S03, but who do not meet the prerequisites, are encouraged to request permission of the course instructor. This request is the initial step and should be submitted by August 1st. You may be asked to take part in a short phone interview to address any outstanding questions. You will be contacted once your request has been reviewed. If approved, you will be able to register on Mosaic within ~3 business days.It should be noted that permission is not guaranteed. We will only approve those students who we feel are appropriately prepared to help ensure the learning experiences are positive and truly educative.

Please email Kate Whalen, Senior Manager of Academic Sustainability Programs, at whalenk@mcmaster.ca with the following information:

Your Name (first, last)

Your home Faculty

Level (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5+, or 9)

Course that you are requesting permission for: Sustain 2S03

Please tell us which academic term suites your schedule (Term 1 or Term 2) . If either work, please state “either” and provide a preference if you have one.

Please tell us which Tutorial suits your schedule (We 2:30-3:30; We 3:30-4:30; Th 2:30-3:30; or Th 3:30-4:30)

Are you pursuing the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. Note that students are pursuing the Minor if they have intent to complete the Minor as per the stated requirement. See: http://asp.mcmaster.ca/programs-minor.html

If you are pursuing the Minor, which courses have you taken?

Key objectives of SUSTAIN 2S03 is to provide students with: interdisciplinary, student-led, community-based, and sustainability-focused experiential learning. Please use the space below to describe the following: 1) your academic background related to the course objectives, 2) reason(s) of interest in this course, and 3) your personal learning goals. In addition, please feel free to refer to courses and/or extracurricular activities that have provided you with experience in one or more of the following: interdisciplinary teamwork, sustainability-focused project management, experiential learning, and/or community engagement. Please aim for approximately 200 words.

Request Course Exception for Sustain 3S03 and Sustain 4S06

Sustain 3S03 / 4S06 Request for Course Permission

SUSTAIN 3S03: Implementing Sustainable Change and SUSTAIN 4S06 A/B: Leadership in Sustainability are offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. Both courses assume a foundation in interdisciplinary teamwork, project management, community engagement, and personal reflection. Students who have not taken the prerequisite courses should anticipate additional work to account for this. Please refer to the course syllabus posted at asp.mcmaster.ca to review the course-specific overview and learning outcomes.Students wishing to enrol in SUSTAIN 3S03 or SUSTAIN 4S06 A/B, but who do not meet the prerequisites, are encouraged to request permission of the course instructor. The request is the initial step and should be submitted by August 1st to ensure time for your request to be processed. You may be asked to take part in a short phone interview to address any outstanding questions. You will be contacted once your application has been reviewed. If approved, you will be able to register on Mosaic within ~3 business days.

It should be noted that permission is not guaranteed. We will only approve those students who we feel are appropriately prepared to help ensure the learning experiences are positive and truly educative.

Please email Kate Whalen, Senior Manager of Academic Sustainability Programs, at whalenk@mcmaster.ca with the following information:

Your Name (first, last)

Your home Faculty

Level (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5+, or 9)

Which course you are requesting permission for (3S03 or 4S06)

If you are questing permission for Sustain 3S03, Please tell us which Tutorial suits your schedule (Th 10:30-11:30; or Th 11:30-12:30)

Are you pursuing the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. Note that students are pursuing the Minor if they have intent to complete the Minor as per the stated requirement. See: http://asp.mcmaster.ca/programs-minor.html

If you are pursuing the Minor, which courses have you taken?

Key objectives of both SUSTAIN 3S03 and SUSTAIN 4S06 A/B are to provide students with: interdisciplinary, student-led, community-based, and sustainability-focused experiential learning. Please use the space below to describe the following: 1) your academic background related to the course objectives, 2) reason(s) of interest in this course, and 3) your personal learning goals. In addition, please feel free to refer to courses and/or extracurricular activities that have provided you with experience in one or more of the following: interdisciplinary teamwork, sustainability-focused project management, experiential learning, and/or community engagement. Please aim for approximately 250 words.