Putting what you know about sustainability into practice is an important part of this certificate. In addition to taking courses, you need to engage in a sustainability-related project either on campus or in the wider community. Here are three possible ways to meet this requirement for the sustainability certificate:
- Option 1: Badger Volunteers. This program is run by the Morgridge Center for Public Service and lists over a dozen sustainability-related volunteer sites off campus. Select a site under "sustainability" and contribute your skills for a semester. Your selection must be from the "sustainability" offerings.
- Option 2: Service Learning Courses at UW-Madison. (Note: This option will be discontinued starting Fall 2017) These courses are posted online, thanks to the Morgridge Center for Public Service. Take a service learning course that connects to sustainability. Check with your certificate advisor to insure that the course meets the community engagement requirement. Note that credits earned to meet this requirement are not among those counted toward this 12-credit certificate.
- Option 3: Create Your Own Adventure! Design a project either on campus or in the wider community that meets the intent and learning goals for this certificate. To use this option, make sure what you propose isn’t already offered elsewhere. Your adventure should meet the definition of service learning below and require about 40 hours of your time. Prior to embarking on your adventure, you need to secure approval for your plan from the certificate's faculty advisor, Ann Terlaak. Beth Tyron from the Morgridge Center is also available to consult with you about your project.
All three options involve a two-step process; all certificate students need to fulfill these two steps in order for their engagement to be counted towards the certificate.
Step 1: Prior to commencing your engagement, submit the Community Engagement Form to Ann Terlaak or Nick Horan. This form requires you to provide some basic information if you pursue Option 1 or 2, and more detailed information if you pursue option 3 (Create your own adventure).
Step 2: Upon completing your engagement, submit the Community Engagement Form to Ann Terlaak or Nick Horan. This form asks a series of questions for you to reflect upon what you have taken away from your community engagement.
For all three of these, think in terms of the Wisconsin Experience: “Together, we create and apply learning inside and outside the classroom to make the world a better place.” Please note the requirement cannot be met by a paid position.
The Morgridge Center for Public Service
The Morgridge Center for Public Service at UW-Madison believes "public service connects campus with community through service, service-learning, and community-based research to build a thriving democratic society."
On the Morgridge Center for Public Service website, you'll find useful information. One example is a definition of service learning that points out how it can benefit both you and the community. Service-learning is a “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience” that allows students to:
- participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
- reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility - Bringle & Hatcher (1995)
Why community engagement?
One of the learning goals for this certificate is for you to "understand sustainability issues from local, regional and global perspective." What better way to accomplish this than to engage in a local issue? Engaging with those who are striving to accomplish sustainability-related goals can help ground your knowledge in experience and provide opportunities for you to develop skills that are likely to prove useful no matter which career path you follow. You can partner with others either on campus or in our wider community.