Rhode Island College to launch Sustainable Communities Initiative 

The first-of-its-kind program will debut on Feb. 16 with a presentation by Julian Agyeman, professor and chair of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University.

The Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) at Rhode Island College has been established to facilitate and support informed dialogue and civic engagement related to sustainability on campus and in the community.

Directed by Jed Greenberg, the SCI features free and open lectures by leading local, regional and national scholars and practitioners as well as innovative hybrid courses for the public in sustainability fundamentals, leadership and community-based planning and evaluation.

The initiative will launch this spring semester with a series of eight lectures and two courses – the SCI Community Enrichment Program for lifelong learners and the SCI Community Leaders Program for aspiring community leaders and educators.

Julian Agyeman
On Feb. 16, the speaker series will open with a lecture by Julian Agyeman, professor and chair of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University. The talk, titled “Just Sustainabilities: Re-imagining (E)quality, Living Within Limits,” will be held at RIC at 7 p.m. in the Clarke Science building, room 128.

Agyeman is co-originator of the concept of “just sustainabilities,” the integration of social/spatial justice and sustainability, defined as "the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems."

The speaker series will be free and open to the public, with several events also available online. Details are available at www.ric.edu/pdp.

The two courses for spring 2012 – SCI Community Enrichment Program and the SCI Community Leaders Program – will enable participants to attend class on campus one evening per month for lectures, discussion activities and peer networking.

Students will also have access to new online lectures each week delivered by sustainability leaders. Courses are offered for Continuing Education Units and the fee per course is $150. Students can find complete course and registration information online at www.sci-ri.org and/or www.ric.edu/pdp.

The SCI Community Enrichment Program provides a foundation of knowledge in sustainability while enabling participants to share similar interests and concerns. Students will be encouraged to contribute to the SCI Sustainable Communities Index and a sustainability resource guide for the public. The SCI Index is a research tool being developed to help community residents evaluate the sustainability performance of their own towns and cities.

The SCI Community Leaders Program offers those interested in acquiring core competencies in sustainability the opportunity to apply this knowledge in their own communities to make a measurable impact. Participants will be prepared to lead Sustainability Learning Circles with the support of SCI in their communities and contribute to the development of the SCI Sustainable Communities Index.

Partial funding for the SCI at RIC Speaker Series has been provided by the RIC Committee on College Lectures and the RI Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Environment Council of Rhode Island Education Fund is serving as fiscal agent for the Sustainable Communities Initiative.

“RIC is very pleased to be partnering with Jed Greenberg and SCI,” said Dante Del Giudice, campus administrator for the initiative. “He is a veteran of and young leader in the Rhode Island environmental movement. His SCI project is unique in its vision to effect real change one community at a time in partnership with concerned individuals, leading environmental scholars, environmental agencies, participant training and higher education.”

Supported by RIC’s division of Professional Studies and Continuing Education, SCI joins RIC’s other offerings in Green and Sustainability Studies that include programs for educators and for members of the business sector.

For additional information, please contact Dante Del Giudice, interim director of Professional Studies and Continuing Education at (401) 456-8428 or ddelgiudice@ric.edu.