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Highlight: Sustainability Studio

January 18, 2011 1 Comment

Today Citizen Circles is highlighting our new Sustainability Studio by interviewing Christine Geith, the Executive Director of MSUglobal at Michigan State University.  Christine took the initiative to organize participants and guests to create the Studio in December.  It is now ready to launch as a global course as part of the new semester starting at P2PU on January 26th and will run for seven weeks.

The Sustainability Studio is a project-based course where you’ll make a difference locally with a small group that focuses on one of the core environmental, social or economic aspects of sustainability. Along the way, you’ll build your knowledge and skills, have support from peers in Sustainability Studio, hear from guest speakers and share the story of what you’re doing.

There are many ways you could have organized this studio. What was it about the Citizen Circles model in particular that you were drawn to?
There were three things: first, meeting Alan Webb and Amanda Drozer, I got excited about what they are doing with Citizen Circles. Second, ‘blended’ learning, where you combine on-site and on-line experiences, works really well. Third, sustainability requires action, and citizen circles are small groups of peers co-creating those actions. Seems to me like an unbeatable – and fun – combination!

P2PU and the School of Social Innovation are communities of innovators covering a wide range of social issues – what better place to focus on sustainability for the planet?

What goals do you have for the studio?
To deepen our understanding and to increase our impact in our local communities. I’ll know the studio is a success when everyone in the course reaches the goals they set for themselves – for me, it’s rewarding to be a part of that process.

How do you hope that MSU and MSUglobal will benefit from this project?
I hope that a lot of learning comes out of this; for the participants in the studio, for the MSU faculty that developed the competency framework and openly licensed it so others could build on their great work; for the team at MSUglobal who are always seeking learning innovations to make a difference at MSU; and for our peers in the open education movement who may find our work useful for remixing into their own materials.

What kind of participants are you hoping to attract to the studio?
People who are interested in working on a project with others locally and online, and who are interested in delving into the social, environmental or economic aspects of sustainability. Ideally, you are looking for a way to get involved, you have an idea for a project in the back of your mind, or you just want to try a new way to make a difference – this course will provide the support to make it a reality in seven weeks.

Karl, Kristin, and Stephanie are planning an Art Puzzle on the Farm project in East Lansing Michigan. Joy from Virginia Beach, VA is working on raising Eco Consciousness. Alan is planning to take on a project to help get a local account of wellbeing started in Washington D.C..

Monica, a participant in the Sustainability Studio describes her project:

“Our Jackson Water Stewardship Adventure is an effort to move to the forefront of water stewardship in metal manufacturing, fabrication, and machinery manufacturing. If we do it right, not only can we become better stewards of our part of the Great Lakes basin, which protects current and future generations, but we can spur economic development so badly needed. This venture will seek to reach out to the 5,473 metalworking employees in Jackson County Michigan from 175 establishments and ask them to join us in remaking Jackson Michigan into a green advanced manufacturing hotspot. In this first step we are seeking people who want to help green their practices and who will discuss what that means to them. We plan to video record their stories to share widely through the Sustainability Studio network and other networks.”

What will participants have to show for their work?
“Participants will create a digital story to share their project and inspire others – and possibly some of the new P2PU badges to recognize their efforts.”

Sign up for new citizen circles launching now on the P2PU School of Social Innovation or suggest your own at cocreate@citizencircles.com.

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Sustainability Studio going live Jan. 26 « Christine Geith | Blog, January 23rd, 2011 on 9:18 pm

[…] Alan Webb is organizing the well-being project and blogged about the course in Citizen Circles. […]

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