Sustainability Education & Administration
Berkshire distinguishes between sustainability-focused course and sustainability-related course offerings. Sustainability-focused courses are those that teach and assess sustainability skills every term. Sustainability-related courses are those that focus on sustainability skills for at least one full unit. A formal sustainability course inventory of the curriculum is conducted before the start of each academic
As of November 2013, there are nineteen sustainability-focused courses. Among them include the core courses taught in English, Spanish, and History to third through fifth formers. Others include Biology, Physics, Environmental Science, Sustainability Resource Management, Advanced Topics in Biology, and Advanced Topics in Renewable Energy.
Sustainability-related courses are taught in five of the six academic departments, with 24 options for students to choose from, mostly taken by sixth formers. In total, over 50% of Berkshire’s offerings have units directly related to sustainability.
Fifth and sixth formers who demonstrate the commitment and aptitude to work independently at an advanced level may develop a sustainability-focused independent study project in consultation with a faculty sponsor (usually the Director of Sustainability). Also, through the math-science research course, students seeking an independent sustainability-focused laboratory experience have an opportunity to design and execute an original research project. Finally, Berkshire is currently undergoing a curriculum review to infuse sustainability-related offerings across all departments and in a much more meaningful manner using standards identified by The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.
Outside the traditional classroom, prefects are required to lead sustainability awareness in their dorms and help administer outreach campaigns such as the Green Cup Challenge, the annual Oil Reduction Competition, the Emissions Trading Program, and Zero Waste Meals. Their peers formally evaluate their performance by tabulating a Prefect Sustainability Average. All events, ranging from dorm cookouts to alumni weekend, are subject to sustainability audits by students. All new students are required to take a sustainability literacy assessment during orientation, the results of which are compared to the same assessment administered before graduation. Finally, the social equity side of sustainability is formally addressed by the Dean of Community and Multicultural Affairs and the Diversity Committee.