NMSU offers university-wide sustainability minor

February 27, 2015

Beyond the growing trend of “going green,” New Mexico State University has caught on to the universal movement transforming the job market for graduating students – a movement that benefits the student, the university and the planet.
Three men behind table
David Boje and his colleagues, Raymond Fierro and Sebastien Vendette prepare a table on sustainability opportunities at the annual Career Fair.

By implementing four sustainability minors housed in the colleges of Engineering; Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Business; and Arts and Sciences, management professor and faculty coordinator David Boje is “greening the curriculum.” The 18-credit, university-wide undergraduate minor offered in three tracks allows students to explore challenges in local and global sustainability.

A graduate minor in sustainability will serve as a master of business administration minor and will eventually be added to any NMSU graduate program degree. A proposed graduate certificate offers an integrated series of courses that comprise a multidisciplinary study of the environmental, social, cultural and economic dimensions of sustainability. This option will be available soon.

“Accounting, Engineering and Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management are really focused on getting their students placed at major institutions and corporations. Now, some of those students are back as recruiters and they’re actively looking for students from their own institution, major and minor,” Boje said.

Boje has created outreach by using the career fairs held on campus to introduce recruiters with job-seeking students. Sustainable careers are expanding in agriculture and forestry, energy, environmental protection, governmental and regulatory administration, green construction, manufacturing, recycling and waste reduction, research, design, transportation and consulting services.

“Once we get a really good scholarship built up, we recruit students. They then get a minor in sustainability and get a good job offer after college. Eventually, some of those students come back as recruiters. It’s our job as faculty to get our students prepared and to go out to the career fair and meet these employers and old alumni,” Boje said. “There’s nothing like walking up to a student you had in your class, years ago, and introducing them to a current student seeking a similar opportunity.”

The program was tailored after the Arts and Sciences’ existing sustainability minor in the Anthropology Department. Boje and his team headed to Engineering with a similar plan of action. The Business College followed suit, pulling out six courses and creating a minor at the MBA level. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is now partnered with the Business College and is in the process of establishing its own minor, specific to its students’ needs. Boje’s goals are to expand the courses in the College of Health and Social Services and to help the College of Education identify courses to implement into their curriculum.

“We are greening NMSU, not just one college,” Boje said.

Besides outreach during career fairs, many events throughout the school year are provided to encourage students to learn about opportunities in sustainability.

“The university is committed to producing students who are environmentally aware and are taking action in their own lives,” Boje said. “We wouldn’t have a gold-star-rated university without OASIS, ESSO and other clubs that have pitched in and lobbied with administration. Our actions have to match that designation. Everybody caring in their own way, that produces a community of care.”

A scholarship fund in all six colleges currently exists, allowing donors to choose which areas they would like to see flourish. Scholarship accounts in financial aid and operations are also active. Scholarships are the root of this program. With scholarships come opportunities to expand on a necessity in all areas of student life and employment.

“There are a lot of environmentally minded students but not in the same way. Some are ecologically minded, economically minded. You have different orientations in every discipline, but together we can make a difference,” Boje said.

For information on donating to any of the eight scholarships, visit http://greening.nmsu.edu/donate/. Faculty and staff may use the payroll deduction method.

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