Civic Engagement and Sustainability Education

June 28, 2016

Initial curator: Kim Coleman, Vermont Campus Compact


The term “sustainability education” refers to a teaching approach that uses innovative pedagogy, such as service-learning and project-based learning, to encourage students to think critically and take action towards a sustainable future. Sustainability education is receiving increasing attention on college campuses, e.g. the University of Vermont now has a sustainability general education requirement for all of its undergraduate students. Educators and administrators interested in integrating sustainability into their courses and departments may consider civic engagement as a mechanism for creating meaningful experiences at the intersection of sustainability and their respective disciplines. For example, a service-learning project focused on creating public information about recycling for a non-English speaking audience may help students better understand the intersection of sustainability and teaching English as a second language. This Knowledge Hub focuses on providing resources that focus on sustainability education and civic engagement, including empirical articles, case studies, books, organizations, and exemplars. Additionally, these resources may be of use to those interested in integrating civic engagement components into existing sustainability initiatives as a dimension of a Campus Civic Action Plan.

If you know of resources that you would like to contribute to this knowledge hub, please contact Maggie Grove at

Key resources

A) Sustainability Education in Higher Education

This section contains books and articles that discuss the integration of sustainability concepts into courses and curricula at the level higher education.

B) Selected Case Studies

This section contains case studies from a range of disciplines to give examples of how faculty have integrated sustainability concepts into their courses.

  • Bridges, C. M., & Wilhelm, W. B. (2008). Going beyond green: The “why and how” of integrating sustainability into the marketing curriculum. Journal of Marketing Education, 30(1), 33-46.
  • Coops, N. C., Marcus, J., Construt, I., Frank, E., Kellett, R., Mazzi, E., … & Schultz, A. (2015). How an entry-level, interdisciplinary sustainability course revealed the benefits and challenges of a university-wide initiative for sustainability education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16(5), 729-747.
  • Costa, S., & Scoble, M. (2006). An interdisciplinary approach to integrating sustainability into mining engineering education and research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 14(3), 366-373.
  • Pesonen, H. L. (2003). Challenges of integrating environmental sustainability issues into business school curriculum: A case study from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Journal of Management Education, 27(2), 158-171.
  • Wiese, N. M., & Sherman, D. J. (2011). Integrating marketing and environmental studies through an interdisciplinary, experiential, service-learning approach. Journal of Marketing Education, 33(1), 41-56.

C) Service-Learning and Sustainability Education

This section contains works that deal specifically with service-learning as a tool to teach sustainability concepts.



A) Institution-wide Exemplars

B) Programmatic Exemplars

C) Exemplary Scholars

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