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Sustainability Not Just a Buzzword at Missouri State U.

Sustainable practices are both implemented and taught at Missouri State University, which now offers a minor in the field. Credit: MSU Office of Communications.
Sustainable practices are both implemented and taught at Missouri State University, which now offers a minor in the field. Credit: MSU Office of Communications.
September 3, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Sustainability is more than just a trend or a buzzword – it's now a minor at Missouri State University, which joins a growing list of schools offering undergraduate coursework in the field.

Jordan Schanda, the university's sustainability coordinator, says while many think it is a purely environmental issue, sustainability goes far beyond, encompassing social and economic factors as well.

She says in a recent survey of business leaders, the overwhelming majority felt knowledge of sustainability was important in a new hire.

"Employers are looking for this type of education in their employees, and graduates are looking for employers that are placing an emphasis on social responsibility and sustainability," she points out.

Missouri State plans to eventually expand the program to offer a major in sustainability.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for graduates educated in concentrations related to sustainability is expected to increase at least 20 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Schanda says no matter what the field, companies are finding it beneficial to their bottom line to hire people who have the mindset of creating a sustainable future.

"So if you have employees that are conscious of energy conservation and things like that, you are going to benefit by them engaging in behaviors like that in the workplace," she stresses.

Sustainability, which is a relatively new discipline, often is defined as the study to minimize and mitigate environmental impacts caused by human actions.

Right now only a handful of schools in Missouri and the nation offer undergraduate degrees in the field, but Schanda says the number is on the rise.


Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO