Welcome to the Fall 2015 Semester at RU

As we start the 2015-16 academic year here at Roosevelt University, the Sustainability Studies program warmly welcomes our new first-year and transfer students, continuing students, and faculty to the Fall 2015 semester, which begins with delightful weather and high expectations for our program’s sixth year since its founding in 2010.

RU's President Ali greets students during move-in week, August 2015

RU’s President Ali greets students during move-in week, August 2015

New Leadership: Back on Friday, August 21st, the fall term officially kicked off with RU’s annual convocation in the historic Auditorium Theatre, led by the university’s new president, Dr. Ali Malekzadeh. With his deep experience in leading business colleges at his previous universities, as well as scholarly expertise in leadership and strategic management, Ali (as he prefers to be called) is excited to be in Chicago and at the helm of our university in a time of challenge and transformation. If you see President Ali in the hallways or elevators of either campus, be sure to say hi and introduce yourself. You won’t regret it!

New Places: The Sustainability Studies Program is in the midst of changes, as well. Founded by faculty in the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies in 2010 as the Chicago area’s first undergraduate program in sustainability, the SUST Program shifted its home base at the university to the College of Arts and Sciences this summer, where it will forge new relationships with academic programs in the social and natural sciences. As co-founder and director of SUST, I want to salute our outstanding colleagues in the College of Professional Studies for the academic and administrative support as well as intellectual inspiration they provided for the program’s creation, development, and growth during its first five years.

SUST will continue to maintain close ties with the College of Professional Studies through its innovative Flex-Track degree option for returning adult students and through ongoing faculty partnerships, as exemplified by CPS natural science professor Dr. Julian Kerbis Peterhans’ unique SUST 330 Biodiversity course, regularly offered at the Field Museum of Natural History. In the College of Arts and Sciences, students can pursue a BA degree in Sustainability Studies and potentially complement their studies with a double-major in a natural/social science or humanities field.

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Dr. Graham Pickren, Assistant Professor of Sustainability Studies

New Faces: Just as importantly, the program’s search last year for a full-time faculty member to replace SUST co-founder Carl Zimring was successful, as we welcomed Dr. Graham Pickren to the Roosevelt faculty this August. A geographer by training, Dr. Pickren did his PhD at the University of Georgia and comes to Roosevelt after a post-doctoral teaching/research fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He has wide-ranging interests in sustainability, cities, and environmental policy and this fall is teaching SUST 240 Waste at the Chicago Campus and SUST 320 Sprawl, Transportation, and Planning online. Stop by his office in AUD 831 and say hello!

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RU’s new Strategic Sustainability Plan, created by students, alumni, faculty, and staff in 2014-15

New Directions: With the auspicious creation of RU’s first Strategic Sustainability Plan last year, we know that the 2015-16 academic year will be a time of exciting transformation and progress. SUST faculty and students will collaborate with staff in the Department of Physical Resources (including former SUST major Rebecca Quesnell, BA ’15, RU’s new Sustainable Operations Coordinator) and other faculty and staff from across the university to enhance our academic offerings, develop new projects, and move sustainability forward at Roosevelt.

And for further inspiration from our students, check out what our current SUST majors have been up to this summer in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Iceland in their sustainability internships and study-abroad programs. Last but not least, stay tuned to this blog and the SUST Facebook page for updates, events, and opportunities for getting involved. We look forward to hearing from you!

With all the best for the year ahead,

Mike Bryson
Co-founder and Director of Sustainability Studies at RU
AUD 829 / mbryson@roosevelt.edu / 312-281-3148

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