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Course Information

Instructor Info:Sarah Partan
Office Extension x5559
Steve Roof
Office Extension x5667
Jana Silver
Office Extension x5671
TA Info:Bryn Kelley
Joshua Reynolds
Jessa Orluk
Anna Yoors
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) WLH
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) WLH
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Worried about climate change and how we will live sustainably in the future? Join us to brainstorm and assess solutions together. This will be a course for first year students interested in learning how to evaluate potential solutions to current local and global environmental and social problems. The course will be co-taught by faculty across the curriculum at Hampshire and will include both large lectures and breakout working groups. The course will be divided into modules focused on specific problems and potential solutions, such as how the arts can help educate and engage the public in making positive changes for sustainable living; whether a cap-and-trade system can reduce carbon emissions efficiently and equitably; why humans are so resistant to changing our habits; or how we might ameliorate losses to biodiversity due to climate change. In addition to engagement in readings, lectures, discussion and activities, small teams of students will be expected to explore a problem in greater depth.

Course Objectives:

In this class students will:

  • Identify the problems we face associated with climate change.
  • Evaluate potential solutions to current local, global, environmental and social problems which have emerged due to climate change and sustainability.
  • Practice brainstorming techniques as a vehicle towards potential solutions.
  • Increase their knowledge of climate change, sustainability and social injustice/ethics.
  • Learn to understand common barriers and stumbling blocks to attempted solutions.
  • Explore how individuals and organizations are working to educate the public through environmental education, theater and visual arts for social change.
  • Discover methods to increase green marketing and entrepreneurship.
  • Determine ways they can make a difference in their day-to-day lives.
  • Learn to think across disciplinary boundaries.
Evaluation Criteria:

Discussion sections: Each student will be assigned to a discussion section which will meet Fridays from 10:30-11:30. Your rooms will be assigned. You are required to attend all of these discussion sections. The Friday sections will include brainstorming term project ideas along with group discussions of the following week's readings. Each group will also be assigned a subset of the speakers to do some extra preparation for their visit.

Readings: All students are expected to come to class having completed the assignments and all reading for that class.  The readings will generally be due on Fridays, to allow for discussion with classmates in preparation for the following week’s visitor. Weekly readings and assignments will be posted on moodle in advance.

Attendance: We expect you to attend every class unless you are sick with a contagious illness. More than three unexcused absences will result in no evaluation.  You are required to check in with your TA at the BEGINNING of every class to record your attendance. Punctual attendance to all classes is mandatory! Please do not arrive late. We only have guest speakers for a short amount of time and this time is valuable.  Arriving late is impolite and unacceptable.  If missing class is unavoidable it is up to you to find out what you missed in class and to complete the weekly readings and assignments on the moodle site.

Participation: We intend this class to be highly participatory, with students offering ideas, comments and questions in each session to help the group move forward with brainstorming about solutions. Please participate and listen actively to others.

Laptops: You are welcome to bring laptops or tablets to class to refer to the readings or take notes. However checking e-mail, face book or any other web pages unrelated to the course content will not be tolerated.

Assignments: You are required to complete all assigned course work.  Assignments missed will be noted in your evaluation and an unacceptable amount of missing course work will result in no evaluation for this class. Completed work must be on time, well thought out and proof read. Assignments should not have typos or grammatical errors. The writing center is a free resource for all students to help them with their writing; please schedule appointments with them well in advance of assignment due dates.   

In this course, students are expected to spend at least six to eight hours a week of preparation and work outside of class time. This time includes reading, discussion forums, and assignments.

Additional Info:



Weekly Moodle Discussion forums:

Every Thursday by midnight each student posts one to two content-based questions about the reading for the following Tuesday’s topic, and one to two content-based questions for the following Thursday’s topic.

By midnight before each class the following week –ie.  by midnight on Monday and midnight on Wednesday, each student must REPLY to another student's post for that session with a comment or proposed answer or an extension of the question. Please be as specific as you can, using page numbers from the readings to direct our attention to particular sections.  The goal is the keep you engaged with the topic and the reading in preparation for our speaker. 


Questions: Every Thursday by midnight




Replies: Every Monday by midnight and every Weds by midnight

Track your consumption from September 9th -15th.
Choose something that you use (e.g., sheets of paper, bottles of water, energy drinks, granola bars) or do (miles traveled, toilet flushes, showering (number and lengths), servings of meat eaten, etc.) and track for a week.  Record your consumption as you go in a small notebook or on your smartphone (you will not be able to remember it all from memory!).  Your TA’s will help you compile all consumption records, and then we’ll look at the consumption of the entire class.


Due: September 19th


Personal Change Project:

Change one behavior for 3 weeks, from Oct 1 - 21. Assignment will be introduced and discussed further in class on Sept 27th . Paper should be between 3-5 pages, describing the practice chosen, why it was undertaken, and what happened, showing results of the practice, regardless of outcome. Discuss the significance of the project and the difficulties and successes encountered.

Paper due: Oct 25.


Term Project:

Term projects will be collaborative, completed with members of your Friday TA group. At the end we will require an individual term paper from each student along with a collaborative group presentation. The project groups might involve your entire Friday group working together, or they might be done in smaller sub-groups.  The assignment is to research a problem associated with climate change or sustainability, write thoughtfully about the problem citing sources, and then present solutions -- these should include solutions that are currently being discussed by other people in the world, but we hope will also include solutions that the students devise or brainstorm about during class or discussion sections.  We hope to have substantial innovative thought going into the projects.  Your paper should then advocate for one of the solutions, explaining why you think it would help and what steps would have to be taken to implement it, although we will not actually be implementing solutions this semester. 



Final Paper:

Problem Statement

Annotated Bibliography

Introduction Page-What is the problem and how will the following paper address this.

Conceptual Model (visual chart which displays the flow of the paper)

Term Paper Draft

Final Term Paper



DUE: November 1

DUE: November 8th

DUE: November 15th


DUE: November 15th

DUE: November 26th

DUE: December 13th


Final Group Presentations

DUE: December 3rd



 Hampshire College Policy Concerning  Incompletes:

Faculty are not obligated to negotiate an incomplete. In those cases where a student has requested and the faculty member agrees that an incomplete is appropriate, that information must be recorded no later than the course completion summary deadline for that semester.

To record an incomplete, both student and faculty member will fill out the appropriate form to record the new negotiated deadline by which the student will complete all remaining work for the course. That date will not exceed the first day of the spring semester for a fall incomplete, and June 30th for a spring incomplete.

If the negotiated deadline passes without the faculty member receiving and recording the completed work from the student, the incomplete will be converted to a "No Evaluation." Faculty have one month from the negotiated date to evaluate the work.

Students experiencing exceptional circumstances that could make it difficult to adhere to any part of this policy should immediately be referred to CASA for assistance with accommodating circumstances.


Plagiarism:  Plagiarism is a term covering everything from inadvertently passing off as one’s own the work of another because of ignorance, time constraints, or careless note-taking, to hiring a ghost writer to produce an examination or course paper. This range of possibilities is spelled out in more detail on the CASA web page at Hampshire College Make sure you have read and understood the information at this website.