USG passes resolution supporting sustainability gen-ed at UI

The resolution emphasizes the value of the sustainability general education requirement and underlines that while the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences adopted it in July 2021, other colleges have yet to follow suit.


Mark Fortunato

A speaker a gives a presentation at the Undergraduate Student Government meeting Tuesday, Oct.11, 2022.

Archie Wagner, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution at its Tuesday meeting to urge all colleges at the university to adopt a sustainability general education requirement. 

While a sustainability general education requirement was adopted by the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in July 2021, other UI colleges are yet to do the same. 

A letter will be sent out to the deans of colleges at UI including the College of Engineering. Meetings will be set up between the deans and USG to further discuss the sustainability general education requirement. 

The resolution was proposed by Sen. Delaney Behning and Sen. Amira Qidwai

“This is a resolution on sustainability, just basically reinstating our support of the general education requirement for sustainability,” Behning said. “So this would be supporting the colleges to adopt that and just urging them to make those changes now.” 

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Support for the resolution was found in the 2022-27 Strategic Plan proposed by UI President Barbara Wilson, Behning said. 

“It was stated that sustainability is important and university teachings and following that there is a guideline to have 75 percent of the university students passing a sustainability gen ed by 2027,” Behning said. 

USG Director of Justice and Equality Jennie Yang clarified that the sustainability general education requirement won’t impact anyone’s ability to complete their degree.  

“The only main reason other colleges haven’t adopted this is due to some of the necessary requirements,” Yang said. “For example, the College of Engineering, they have very strict processes for how they do everything, being an engineering major.” 

USG Sen. at Large Kyle Clare questioned whether a widespread sustainability requirement is a desire of current students, emphasizing that USG is meant to represent the desire of students. 

“I can’t really vote on this because I don’t feel like our student body wants this,” Clare said. “I have no idea. I would like to know more if our students really care to have this gen ed before I vote yes.” 

Sen. Marco Oceguera emphasized the UI’s position as an educational institution as opposed to acting solely in response to students’ desires. 

“I think it’s important to remember that we’re representative of students,” Oceguera said. “However, I think it’s important to recognize that we are operating an educational institution and our end goal is to make sure that we are promoting an educational experience that’s valuable for students.”

Sen. Amisha Mohanty proposed looking at the course in the future to see how well it worked in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“One thing we can look at, maybe a year or two looking at how this gen ed has been implemented and what certain students think we can improve their experience,” Mohanty said.