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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Ohio State Launches New Housing Learning Community Focused on Sustainability

Sep. 10, 2014

With the start of the autumn 2014 semester, the university adds a new housing learning community focused on sustainability to its diverse living options for new and returning students. The university offers its students more than a dozen learning communities, which are comprised of groups of students who live together on a residence hall floor who have common majors, career aspirations or personal interests.

SUSTAINS (Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society) is targeted at undergraduates studying or interested in the environment and focuses on helping students to explore and engage with sustainability topics and investigate human interaction with environmental problems.

Through discussion, service and hands-on learning, students who are members of this community will learn about best practices for sustainable living and have opportunities to explore how sustainability relates to their lives and the lives of others.

Partners in the development of the community include Ohio State University Housing in the Office of Student Life, the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE), the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“I am most excited about learning to live sustainably and the career opportunities and connections that this learning community may introduce me to. I joined SUSTAINS for those reasons as well as to meet people with similar interests to my own,” notes Roland Bennett, a freshman student from Athens, Ohio.

A key programming goal for SUSTAINS is connecting students with campus partners working to make Ohio State and Columbus a greener place to live. SUSTAINS offers students special programming including a weekly seminar featuring presentations from faculty and other partners as well as a monthly dinner and dialogue series.

SUSTAINS was developed with a vision of strong faculty and staff engagement and support. Partner representatives will be heavily involved with SUSTAINS programming, additionally guest speakers from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, the Fisher School of Business, and other academic units at Ohio State, as well as industry partners, will regularly engage with SUSTAINS community members.

“Student Life’s department of Residence Life is really excited about expanding our learning community offerings to include the SUSTAINS LC this year. The students who are a part of the inaugural group are passionate and engaged, and the focus of this community is a perfect fit with Ohio State’s discovery themes,” remarked Julie Sanzone, Assistant Director of Academic Initiatives for Residence Life in Ohio State’s Office of Student Life.

SUSTAINS students spent move-in weekend getting to know one another and solidifying their vision for the community through a welcome dinner with faculty and administrators, a day-long retreat, as well as a canoeing trip in Hocking Hills.

Eighteen students were selected to live in the community during its first year. The students represent a diverse population of academic areas including Ohio State’s Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability (EEDS) program, environmental science, public health, and engineering.

For its inaugural year the community is housed in Nosker House and is currently welcoming any other students living in this residence hall who are not yet members. Applications will be available this fall to apply to join the community for the autumn 2015 semester.

To learn more, visit Questions may be directed to Gina Hnytka at

August 26, 2014