Introduction to Sustainable Development Seminar

Apr 2021

If you're not a sustainable development major or minor (who are required to take this course) I really don't recommend it. It's not terrible, but it is pretty boring, only touches on surface level of all topics covered, and barely touches on issues of equity. For those majoring or minoring, this class shouldn't stop you from doing so: it's boring, but not terrible, and it is extremely easy. That being said, if you're not a major or minor, find yourself a more interesting easy class.

Dec 2012

This class is what it is: a basic introduction to the Sustainable Development Major/Concentration. Thus, it ultimately lacks substance and can be a waste of time; this was especially the case for my class, which was full of juniors and seniors who had obviously finished their other requirements for the major and had to get this requirement out of the way. At the same time, however, the class did what it was supposed to do: introduce the discipline and major of Sustainable Development and have the students think critically about the concepts that they entail. While the material is often dry, the class did a great job in achieving its purpose. Jason was a wonderful and comical lecturer, and you can tell that he is passionate about the subject even though he acknowledges that the course is a necessary evil. Rebecca, the TA, also made the class interesting with her personal anecdotes about her experience with the major. I also liked the guest lecturers such as Jeffrey Sachs and the professors from the department. Don't listen to the uncouth review below mine; the claims made about Jason and Rebecca are simply untrue. While the class could be redundant at times, it was an overall stress-free and relaxing experience. Jason even brought homemade food for us on the last day! Just go to class and do the work and you're guaranteed an A.

Dec 2012

Intro to Sustainable Development was worthless. In hindsight, I should have watched a documentary on YouTube concerning global warming. The weekly lectures were spent gossiping about current event, not sustainable development. Do yourself a favor and skip this class. It was just one credit, but the course's demand mirrored a traditional, three credit course. And if you're not a SusDev major, Jason and the TA assumed you were beneath them. So, do not take this class unless you're required to do so. Worthless!

May 2011

This is class is a relatively unsubstantial introduction for the Sustainable Development major/concentration, and as a 1-point course, this is to be expected. I've heard some students complain that it was a waste of time, or that they didn't really learn anything, which is kind of true. BUT, in all fairness, the class does exactly what it's supposed to do: introduce you to the major and everything it entails. And that it does a very good job. Professor Griffin is great-extremely nice, approachable, and very willing to meet with you in office hours if you have any questions. The Earth Institute is also available if you need more guidance. Generally speaking, the class meets 50 minutes per week and consists of a series of quick I-Clicker questions [surveying the class opinions, not testing on information] followed by a speaker who is brought in to talk about the topic of the day [internships, study abroad, jobs in profit/non-profits after graduation, Peace Corps, professors of other req classes for the major, etc]. It is very low-key and at the end, a few people usually volunteer to ask questions or discuss their views if they want. Homework is minimal. The class is run through an online blog and homework consists of weekly assignments that take 5 minutes...usually writing a paragraph on your opinions or making 2 comments on other people's opinions. I believe it's graded on completion but most people put in decent effort. The last homework is an open-ended group 2 minute video where each person talks for 20 seconds. Obviously this class is in no way stressful or strenuous. That being said, if you're interested in Sus Dev, go ahead and take it. Even if you're not, you might learn something and it's a slight/easy GPA booster. However, also don't let this define your understanding of Sus Dev the major because this class is more about the logistics than the actual content.