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Campaigning for credit
Some Kansas University students are giving students credit for making their campus more green, as reported here by the Lawrence Journal:
"When leaders at the KU Energy Council and Center for Sustainability
looked for recommendations to unify green efforts at KU, they didn’t
seek expertise outside of Lawrence. They didn’t even have to leave campus. Instead, they turned to Bob Basow’s Strategic Campaigns class in KU’s journalism school."
Basow’s campaigns class asks students to dedicate their entire semester to creating a real-world campaign, often for a client. In this case, the client is the university, which got a three-year sustainability plan out of the deal.
This particular group traveled to Kansas State University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, the
Colorado School of Mines, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
and Duke University, all sustainability leaders, and formulated a strategy for the university that depends upon increasing student fees by a few dollars (KU students now pay 50 cents a semester for sustainability), increasing messaging around recycling and waste handling, and saving energy.
As budgets tighten, more universities than KU are asking students to step up and help formulate and implement sustainability plans. This is particularly useful when it comes to greenhouse gas assessments, messaging, and certain kinds of technical work. For example, the Associated Students organization at the University of Montana hired 35 students as drivers, bike ambassadors, outreach specialists and office assistants when it dramatically increased alternative transit options, and in 2006-2007, the program reduced carbon emissions by roughly 170 tons.
The benefit for students, of course, is that they can hone professional skills such as collaboration, communication, project planning, statistical analysis and even technical abilities: all of which give them an edge in the job market when they graduate.