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Hofstra Launches Sustainability Studies

Hofstra University has launched a Sustainability Studies Program that focuses on the unique challenges associated with the creation of sustainable suburbs.  The program, which began this fall, is an interdisciplinary effort that leverages the resources of several departments.  The National Center for Suburban Studies®, the program in Urban Ecology, and the new department of Geology, Environment and Sustainability will work together to produce a distinctive approach to this emerging field of study.

“Surrounding our campus, we have a laboratory – America’s first suburb,” said Dr. Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D., director of the Sustainability Program.   He noted that sustainability issues are much more difficult in the suburbs because government is decentralized, and jurisdiction is often shared by a jumble of municipal entities. “The context of the suburbs is one that has largely been left behind so far in sustainability studies,” he commented.

Former chairman of the Department of Geography at University of South Florida in Tampa, Dr. Brinkmann led a variety of community sustainability projects during his tenure there, including a project in which he and his students worked with the city of Clearwater, Florida, to develop a greenhouse gas inventory for the city and examine building codes to evaluate how they could be revised to improve energy efficiency.

“Hofstra is well-positioned to become a national leader in Sustainability Studies,” said Dr. Herman Berliner, Senior Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, “while continuing our commitment to addressing those local issues that are vital to the region’s future.”

“There’s huge growth in green jobs all over the country and the world but my goal is not just to produce students who can work for companies and institutions dealing with sustainability issues, “ Dr. Brinkmann said, “but to produce students who would be entrepreneurs and transform our culture through their own innovations.”

The Sustainability Studies initiative was made possible in part by a gift from Robert Catell, former chairman of National Grid USA.

“Long Island and the rest of the nation’s suburbs – where the majority of people now live, are the centers of dynamic change,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies®.  “Many of these suburbs are encountering serious urban-like problems beyond our experience and current t resources to deal with, so sustainability isn’t just a buzz word, it’s a watchword for survival.”
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Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 11,000 full and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, applied science, communication, education, health sciences and human services, honors studies, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

Related Link: More About Sustainability Studies at Hofstra

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