More than a buzzword, sustainability has become an important part of a wide array of academic pursuits at the University.
Sustainability is more than a catchphrase. The goal of helping future generations safely co-exist on, and with, Earth has become a way of life. It’s a tangible focus in a wide array of academic pursuits at the University as the topic itself is of utmost importance to students.
With April serving as Earth Month – and April 22 deemed Earth Day – it’s the perfect time to showcase how Jefferson trains students to focus on sustainable practices in the classroom and well beyond.
In this episode of the Nexus Podcast, you will hear from students, faculty and alumni who explain how sustainability comes into play in their areas of expertise. That includes fashion students who created new garments from repurposed Converse sneakers and vintage gloves, and the assistant professor who shepherded sustainability-focused courses into the curriculum. That latter effort will culminate with a unique Fabric Row pop-up shop on April 29.
“Sustainability is an integral part to how this industry moves forward and also how the planet needs to move forward,” says Carly Kusy, the fashion-design alumna and associate professor who launched a pair of courses that challenge current students to consider the topic in their designs. “It’s something I feel passionate about, but also a topic our program director Farai Simoyi feels strongly about. This is not a trend. It is not a fad. It is the way forward from a business standpoint, but more importantly, from a moral and ethical perspective.”
You will hear from the alumnus who helped establish the Hemp Black effort with the University’s backing and now serves as a textile engineer and strategist with a keen eye for innovation and sustainability and envisions professional opportunities for Jefferson’s students moving forward.
“These are the new frontier and new employment opportunities for students, no matter what major they come from. That’s an important development,” says Mark Sunderland, who not only made a mark as a student, but went on to become the university vice president of innovation and technology and the chief innovation officer for Hemp Black, which is a startup company with Jefferson roots that works with hemp textiles.
We also spoke to faculty from an array of colleges participating in a new course focused on the impacts of climate change and climate-related disasters on health and healthcare delivery, a collaboration between Jefferson and Tel Aviv University.
Other efforts, in part, include:
- an industrial-design program project which aims to improve supply chain concerns within Jefferson Health hospitals,
- a team of School of Business students who examined how Walmart could best embrace sustainable practices and
- a collaboration between the Institute for Smart and Healthy Cities and a university in Venice (Italy) to examine climate change impacts on coastal cities.
The list goes on and on, but for the purposes of this podcast, we’ll zero in on several examples that establish sustainability as an important focus at the University, and how it’s an area that provides professional opportunities for Jefferson graduates.