Academic Sustainability Program
four students smiling at camera

“Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the minor came from the capstone course and reading Drawdown. These lessons were actionable and hopeful and are the ones I find myself sharing with others. It has caused me to  expand the breadth of my career search to include the not-so-Biosystems-centric field of energy sustainability roles.”

— Cassie Atchley ’21, Biosystems Engineering

“Sustainability 5000 has given me the opportunity to really apply everything I’ve learned in the minor in a practical way.”

-Cecily Anderson ’21, Environmental Design

SUST 5000, Senior Capstone in Sustainability, is required for all students to complete the minor in Sustainability Studies, and should be taken in your final semester. Please note that this course is normally offered only in the spring semester, so plan your program of study accordingly.


  • SUST 2000
  • Completion of at least 6 hours of approved electives. All elective course credits must be completed before or concurrently with the capstone course. Students may take no more than one elective concurrently with this class.
  • Senior standing strongly recommended.

The Senior Capstone course for the Sustainability Studies Minor has the following objectives:

  • To broaden and deepen students’ understanding of sustainability;
  • To apply sustainability principles & concepts to students’ disciplinary majors and future jobs;
  • To appreciate the application of sustainability principles and concepts to disciplines outside of each student’s area of study or interest;
  • To enhance professional skills in research, team building, oral presentation, and leadership.

Over the first half of the semester, the class will meet weekly to read and discuss the book Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, by P. Hawken (New York, New York: Penguin Books 2017). In groups, students will lead a weekly discussion of a topic from the book, applying it to the UNSDGs and the Sustainability Compass; providing both local and global case studies; critically evaluating those case studies; and suggesting questions for further discussion.

The second half of the semester is devoted to work on students’ capstone projects, which may take a variety of forms (art installations, infrastructure work, architectural model, report or brochure, educational demonstrations, etc.). Projects are completed in small groups.

Samples of student course outcomes may be found here.

A sample syllabus may be found here.

For more information, contact the course instructor, Dr. Miriam Wyman.

Last modified: May 13, 2021