Stewards of Planet Earth
New Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World challenges JMU community to embrace sustainable change
By Michelle Hite ('88)
Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World challenges JMU community to embrace sustainable change.
For a century Madison has educated students to be enlightened and engaged citizens, problem solvers— community leaders. Now through the coordinated efforts of professors and administrators, and from a charge from JMU President Linwood H. Rose, the university is training students to be global citizens — stewards of Planet Earth.
In September, Rose announced the university's formation of the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World to guide JMU's efforts to become a more environmentally sustainable operation as well as to educate JMU citizens about their relationship to nature.
It wasn't a hard sell on this campus. For decades, JMU professors and staff members have built a recycling program. They have collaborated on alternative fuel research; they have tackled environmental issues and built a new engineering program that focuses on sustainability.
Students have embraced the new institute and its principles as well. From coordinating campus No Drive Days to composting in their own eco-friendly residence hall to competing with other residence halls to use the least amount of electricity and water, JMU students are leading the charge to live a more sustainable lifestlye.
According to Christie-Joy "C.J." Brodrick Hartman, director of the Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World, the focus on sustainability and stewardship is more than advocating green trends. The importance of President Rose's charge and this institute is about education and changing culture — researching even more alternative energy resources and their impact on the environment, being eco-wise and changing individual behaviors, focusing on environmental literacy, studying economic and social systems that affect the environment — it's about sustainable change.
About the author
Michelle Hite ('88) is managing editor of "Madison" magazine.