In 2004, Portland State University formalized its “Declaration of Support for Sustainability,” a document confirming our long-term commitment to sustainable practices and processes both on-campus and in our community. Sustainability-themed Capstones represent our continued dedication to working on campus and in the community toward sustainable practices. The impact of this learning is evident both on a policy and community level and on a personal practice level. One student noted in an end-of-term reflection, “The hands-on experience provided in this course was essential. All students agreed that our volunteer time inspired us to make real changes in our lives and how we view our responsibility to our communities.”
The sustainability theme encompasses courses focused on environmental education, social justice, green spaces, grant writing, city planning, and even international issues such as environmental activism in San Martin, Mexico. Capstones in this theme include the “Environmental Education Through a Native American Lens” (a partnership with NAYA), “Neighborhoods and Watersheds” (part of the Community Watershed Stewardship Program), and “Food, Democracy, and Sustainability” (a partnership with the Housing Authority of Clackamas County). These partnerships further PSU’s commitment to be an essential partner to the City of Portland supporting innovative research and actions that serve to further our quality of life for years to come.