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Graduating Green

In recent years, the University of Washington has promoted itself as a green leader in higher education and has made significant strides towards increasing sustainability efforts on campus. One area in which the University has not focused heavily on sustainability is in the curriculum. To address this gap, I developed a basic framework for implementing a new undergraduate sustainability graduation requirement. This framework and the founding of a student coalition to support a sustainability graduation requirement initiative will serve as the initial steps in what I anticipate to be a multi-year implementation process. To develop the framework, I have researched sustainability requirement policies at other universities; reviewed policies at the University of Washington which would support a sustainability graduation requirement; solicited feedback and support from UW faculty, staff, and students; and studied the University of Washington’s Diversity Credit as a case study for a student-led initiative to change University of Washington graduation requirement policy. Based on this research, I then created a series of recommendations detailing a recommended action plan for implementing a UW graduation requirement. To ensure this project continues after I graduate, I have also formed a new student coalition and registered student group to foster campus support for the requirement and work with university faculty and administration to pass the policy through the appropriate channels. If this new requirement is enacted it will not only help the University of Washington emerge as a true leader in sustainability higher education, but will also ensure that graduate of the University of Washington understand sustainability and its applicability to their lives and careers, making them more prepared to tackle emerging global challenges.