Editorial: SEE the academic and environmental future

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

With the arrival of a new sustainability, energy and environment minor, this University is furthering its academic advances and has the full support of The Daily Illini Editorial Board in this endeavor.

As students at a university with such a highly regarded scientific legacy, we are pleased that our school is willing to commit itself to changing with the times and developing their areas of study based on the needs of students, as well as the needs of the world.

Just as decades-old University buildings are being renovated and upgraded, the University should upgrade its course catalog.

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment fellows program — the official title of the minor — has a structure that is also indicative of how sustainability must be approached. Six academic units working together is a perfect example of the cooperation required to help the planet that we live on.

Light switches in dorm rooms have little signs reminding the inhabitants to save power and turn them off. At University football games, the video board displays a message about picking up trash and recycling around Memorial Stadium.

More sustainability, in academics and in practice, is a good thing.

Introducing a sustainability minor is a good step. Introducing a sustainability major down the road would be an even better step. This University boasts a very capable Natural Resources and Environmental Studies department. But walking around campus, trash spills out of dumpsters and blows across streets.

Frat Park is often littered with the remnants of bottles and cans that never found their ways to recycling bins. Cleaning up this campus is one thing — relatively speaking, it’s not any dirtier or cleaner than any other campus of the same size — but establishing an academic path for sustainability is another endeavor.

According to The College Board’s website, 50 American colleges and universities offer a sustainability studies major. (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search — search sustainability)JT

Climate change and sustainability are a major issue in modern society, and it seems only fitting that this University sponsor an academic major to match, especially depending on how successful the SEE fellows program is.

So we applaud the University’s efforts thus far. But we urge it — and all of our readers — not to stop there. Because this is the only planet we have.