The Academic Senate’s recent approval requiring students to take an environmental sustainability course for general education is the right direction at the wrong time.
SF State is currently in an $18 million deficit, and if these courses are created as early as fall 2012, these questions may come to mind: where will the funds come from? Where should it go instead?
Undergrad students will be required to take at least three units to examine the importance of going green. These units can be almost anything and range from reducing energy and water usage to environment-friendly forms of transportation and dining.
By offering the courses, school officials hope that students will integrate what will be learned into their daily lives.
The program would be exceptional especially in an environment-friendly city like San Francisco, yet, across the board, every department in this University has been affected financially either by decreases in the number of classes and resources or layoffs.
Adding this new G.E. requirement to approximately 25,000 undergrad students at SF State means multiple sections must be offered, resulting in the hiring of more instructors and more salaries cutting into an already deeply cut budget.
Environmental sustainability courses would create more issues for students because of difficulties getting into other required classes as it is.
Why don’t we just focus on the current courses needed to graduate?
Classes are scarce throughout the University so adding these courses decreases the likeliness of receiving a degree at this four-year University in, well, four years.
One is not to say, however, that environmental issues are to be ignored.
We inhabit this planet and as humans, we should do our part to protect and preserve it, but there are alternatives to get the same message across.
Instead, if the school’s environmental studies program felt going green should be strongly discussed on campus, why not just lead workshops on the subject?
The University has student-led organizations such as Friends of the Greenhouse and Bicycle Working Group, so why not create a stronger presence?
SF State can do its part to highlight the issue meanwhile saving tens of thousands of dollars each semester if organizations and events were offered instead of forcing students to take classes they don’t need.
Students deserve some sort of break since the school is stripping everything else from their hands.
As much as the University loves their students and want to cling onto them as long as possible, let them graduate in one piece.