Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Sustainability Degree at Paul Smith’s

Hoping to capitalize on the trend for organizations to go green Paul Smith’s College has launched a new program in natural resources sustainability. The program is hoped to produce graduates with the tools needed to compete for a growing number of jobs that call for skills spanning the sciences, business and policy.

“Whether it’s green construction, sustainable agriculture or energy development, we’ll be providing students with hands-on experiences as they develop the skills they’ll need to lead this growing conversation on sustainability,” said Dr. David Patrick, a Paul Smith’s College professor who is coordinator of the new program. “Our location in the Adirondacks is an ideal place for students to work on these challenges.”

The program joins a host of sustainability measures taken by Paul Smith’s College in recent years: officials have pledged to eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, and all new construction is to be built to LEED standards. Today the college will take the wraps off a bottle-and-can redemption machine, so students can collect deposits on their recyclables without leaving campus.

Patrick said that the program’s curriculum crosses over several disciplines and is designed to prepare students for jobs in a wide range of fields, such as conservation and sustainable development, environmental planning and management, green business practices, and sustainable energy and energy efficiency.

As many as 60 students are expected to enroll in the program within a few years. The program was developed in response to the growing number of green-sector jobs. A 2009 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, for example, found that jobs in the clean energy economy in the United States grew 2.5 times faster than all other jobs between 1998 and 2007; other studies project similarly robust growth in the field as clean energy sources take hold.

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