Sustainability Leadership

Students pursuing the Certificate in Sustainability Leadership will show a high degree of motivation and scholarship in learning about:

  • The patterns and dynamics of sustainable ecological, economic, and social systems
  • The natural laws and ecological patterns out of which human culture arises
  • The value of diversity and multiple perspectives, and the ability to draw upon them to build a shared vision for the future
  • The importance of healthy commons (air, water, soil, public health, biodiversity, etc.)
  • A sense of the place in which they live: how the interrelationships of history, culture, and ecology of that place contribute to its health, and how a deep understanding of the local can shape our understanding of the global and
  • The value of gaining skill in gathering, analyzing, and communicating hard data and facts to support environmental proposals and policy initiatives.

As part of their work towards certification, students will contribute to a sustainable future by envisioning and executing solutions to real challenges, while working collaboratively with other students, outside organizations, and experts whenever possible and practical. Given the broad range of possible areas of focus under the Sustainability umbrella, students will have considerable latitude in designing a path that reflects their individual passions and skills.

Required course work (at least two) earning a grade of B or above:

  • Environmental Science
  • Independent Seminar with an ecology or sustainability focus
  • Applied Scientific Research with an ecological or sustainability focus
  • Religion, Resistance, and Revolution
  • Environmental Justice

Required project work (at least four):

Students will focus a project or major assignment in at least four other classes over the junior and senior years on a sustainability topic, in consultation with the course teacher and the Sustainability Coordinator. At least one project will involve a collaborative, group effort. Projects must earn a B or above.

These will be developed and accomplished in other disciplines, for example:

  • In an Economics or Mathematics course that requires a project, research and complete an analysis of the impacts of hunger in Mumbai, develop a programmatic approach to mitigate this burden, and calculate the benefits of the proposed program.

These projects will be planned by the student in consultation with the certificate director,, approved by the relevant teacher (when appropriate), and approved by the certificate director. Once graded by the teacher, the project work is forwarded to the director, who will review with the student and approve the work as a submission to the certificate portfolio.

Off-campus immersion:

  • Create an independently designed off-campus project, or take part in an existing school-sponsored international programs OR
  • Summer and/or weekend research, service, or work experience in sustainability, involving two weeks or 10 weekend days (for instance: two weeks at Las Canadas in Mexico, or volunteer work for an environmental organization or research center).

Extra-curricular opportunity on campus (one required):

  • Student farm work during one or more co-curricular terms
  • Student farm work during the summer CSA program
  • Student Farm Manager Leadership position
  • Head or active membership in the Upper School Green Coalition club
  • Graduation service requirement in a sustainability-focused area or organization

Capstone Project:

The student will complete a Capstone Project that demonstrates authentic action-based learning, ties all of the certificate experiences into a cogent, reflective whole, and connects to the published Westtown School Global Competencies.

The Student will compile all documentation and works created within the certificate program into a portfolio. Examples of Capstone Projects are:

  • a workshop or seminar run by the student that teaches out his or her learning
  • the creation of an artifact
  • the collection of the portfolio, with a critical analysis of the scope and significance of the work and its connection to Global Competencies