Teaching Green at USF
The University of San Francisco offers a number of environment-related courses across a variety of disciplines, from business to architecture to law. Here is a sampling of the ways USF is teaching green.
International Environmental Law
Alice Kaswan, Professor – Law
The course provides an overview of international institutions, an understanding of major environmental problems facing the global environment, and insight into the difficult political, moral, and scientific issues facing the ongoing development of international environmental law. Specific environmental issues considered include: air pollution, ozone depletion, climate change, water resources and pollution, hazardous materials, and endangered species and biodiversity. The course also briefly examines connections between international environmental law, trade, and financial institutions.
Climate Change Mitigation
Stephanie Ohshita, Assistant Professor – Environmental Science
In coming to a deeper understanding of the greenhouse effect and human influences on the Earth's climate, students delve into approaches for climate change mitigation, and options for changing human activities and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to avert negative climate impacts. Students examine environmental strategies at the regional, state, national, and international levels, looking at major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and ways of reducing them, from automobile fuel economy standards to carbon cap and trading mechanisms.
GIS for Environmental Science
David Saah, Assistant Professor – Environmental Science
From desertification to wildland fire hazard alleviation, students study Geographic Information Systems (GIS) through the lens of natural resource management. Students use satellite imagery and field data to create maps and models that can be used to track, conserve, and restore ecosystems by leading to the creation of policies that ensure clean water, healthy forests, and stable ecosystems.
Introduction to Sustainable Business
Todd Sayre, Associate Professor – Accounting
The course explores the business strategies, management tools, and systems of measurement that emerge when companies embrace sustainable principles. Sustainable businesses seek to balance the necessity of economic achievement with environmental quality, and social justice. Within the last decade, multi-national companies have re-aligned and even re-invented their strategic initiatives around the principles of sustainability.
Seth Wachtel, Assistant Professor – Architecture and Community Design
The focus is on real world, sustainable projects for underrepresented communities abroad. Students provide design assistance while gaining experience in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. They conduct research, design, and help implement improvements to a wide array of sustainable community design needs, including such recent projects as a "rammed earth" community center in Goyena, Nicaragua and a large, off-the-grid, low-income housing project in Liberia.