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FSU Establishes New Minor in Sustainability Studies

Minor Will Be Implemented in Fall 2010

As part of its ongoing efforts to respond to workforce needs and uphold its commitment to environmental education, Frostburg State University will now offer a minor in sustainability studies to degree-seeking students. The interdisciplinary minor, which will be implemented this fall, will be housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a steering committee from participating departments. It is designed to encourage students to explore environmental, economic and social equity issues relating to sustainability in modern societies. It will focus on helping students find real-world answers and solutions, with an emphasis on interaction among individuals, government agencies and businesses that are impacted by or depend on sustainability trends.

“I’m very pleased FSU has established a minor in sustainability,” said FSU President Jonathan Gibralter. “The University already offers a variety of great courses and majors that focus on environmental education. This new minor complements the strengths of those areas and also ensures that our students will have the knowledge they need to be ready to take advantage of ‘green collar’ jobs. This academic focus on sustainability is also very much in line with FSU’s overall commitment to becoming a more sustainable campus with academic programs that respond to the world’s problems.”

The sustainability studies minor will largely use existing courses from a number of departments and incorporate two new courses that will be created for the minor: SUST 155, an introductory-level course that will introduce students to sustainability; and SUST 455, a capstone experience for students in the minor. The minor core courses will help students develop skills such as acquisition and summarization of information, critical evaluation, working collaboratively and communication in both written and oral forms.

“The sustainability studies minor offers a truly interdisciplinary minor that will appeal to students in all the disciplines,” said Dr. Sydney Duncan, assistant professor of English and member of the advisory group that leads the “Learning Green, Living Green” sustainability committee who advocated for the new minor. “The focus courses allow students to select classes that best fit their interests, and the variety of choices of electives from each of the required three areas will instruct students in various aspects of sustainability that the students may not have encountered before.”

The sustainability studies minor is just the latest development in FSU’s ongoing efforts to become a more sustainable campus dedicated to educating students about environmental issues. With the leadership of “Learning Green, Living Green” and the enthusiasm and advocacy of its faculty, staff and students, FSU successfully submitted a Climate Action Plan in September 2009, as part of the pledge it made to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The Climate Action Plan will guide FSU to climate neutrality by 2030. Over the past several years, FSU has developed a variety of activities and programs to help the campus learn about sustainability, including: an annual Earth Week celebration; participation in the national RecycleMania competition; “E=(LG)2,” a student-written, student-edited publication on sustainability, the only one of its kind; and Blackout Days, where the University turns off its lights and computers over lunchtime. FSU also has an Energy Star purchasing policy and has been working on installing high-efficiency lighting and low-flow showerheads, which has not only saved electricity and water, but also has saved FSU close to $40,000 in utility costs, according to a recent survey. Additionally, FSU’s Department of Physics and Engineering is moving forward with building a Sustainable Energy Research Facility–or SERF–with grants from the Department of Energy. SERF will be a green, self-sufficient, off-the-grid building and an educational research center for renewable energy connected to the Allegany Business Center at FSU. The University was recently listed in Princeton Review’s “Guide to 286 Green Colleges,” a new publication designed to “recognize the impressive environmental and sustainability programs at universities and colleges across the country.”

To learn more about FSU’s focus on sustainability, visit or e-mail If you are on Facebook, you can also become a fan of the “Learning Green, Living Green at FSU (LGLG)” Facebook Page at

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589