The University of Maine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions recently discussed the Maine Sustainability Hub (MeSH) and the valuable opportunities it provides to UMaine students. The Maine Sustainability Hub started in the spring of 2021 to provide students with an all-inclusive online resource for sustainability resources.
David Hart, the director of the Mitchell Center and a professor of biology and ecology at UMaine opened the discussion on MeSH by stressing the importance of sustainability education.
“Last year, as part of an ongoing conversation with particular faculty that are part of the Mitchell Center…[we] came together to do some brainstorming about what we should be doing and where we should be headed,” Hart said.
The talk’s focus was the importance of sustainability resources and why students should take advantage of them to better their education and their environment.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Don Beith discussed the importance of the environmental ethics minor.
“Ethics is about the way life should be, like the state of Maine,” Beith said, referring to Maine’s state slogan. “The environmental ethics minor is a new minor that’s designed to develop sustainability interdisciplinary education across the four-year arc of education for undergraduates.”
Another undergraduate student resource is a Research Learning Experience (RLE) entitled Managing Change: The Science of Sustainability. The course, which is taught by François Amar and peer-instructed by Elyse St. Pierre, is a single credit and offers students a chance to get started a week early in the fall semester.
“As someone who is interested in doing research in the field of sustainability, it was really helpful for me to have that map and that framework laid out early on,” said Charlie Cooper, a third-year ecology and environmental science student.
Recent UMaine graduate Shaelyn Huber said that MeSH was created to make sustainability efforts more navigable for students.
“The University of Maine’s commitment to sustainability has been and continues to be very strong,” said Megan Carter, a faculty member at the Mitchell Center and the coordinator of the Green Campus Initiative.
MeSH also connects students to organizations such as Divest UMS, a club for climate action, the Green Team and the Permaculture Club. For example, an Earth Week event held by Divest UMS helped students become more involved in and aware of campus sustainability, and MeSH helped them apply for the Hamm Grant that made the event possible.
The Maine Sustainability Hub’s online and in-person efforts to connect students to sustainability resources have been largely successful and instrumental in supporting students in more environmentally friendly educations and mindsets.
For more information about the Mitchell Center, visit https://umaine.edu/mitchellcenter/seminars/fall-2022-sustainability-talks/. A recording of the Maine Sustainability Hub can be found here.