Flora Lu and Emily Murai, "Critical Campus Sustainabilities: Bridging Social Justice and the Environment in Higher Education" (Springer, 2023)


In response to student demands reflecting the urgency of societal and ecological problems, universities are making a burgeoning effort to infuse environmental sustainability efforts with social justice. In this edited volume, we extend calls for higher education leaders to revamp programming, pedagogy, and research that problematically reproduce dominant techno-scientific and managerial conceptualizations of sustainability. Students, staff and community partners, especially those from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, are at the forefront of calls for critical sustainabilities programming, education and collaborations. Their work centers themes of power relations, (in)equity, accessibility, and social (in)justice to study the interrelationships between humans, non-humans, and the environment. Their voices, perspectives and lived experiences are provocations for institutions to think and act more expansively. 

Critical Campus Sustainabilities: Bridging Social Justice and the Environment in Higher Education (Springer, 2023) amplifies some of these voices and bottom up efforts toward a more critical approach to sustainability on campus. We ground our recommendations on findings from campus-wide surveys that were taken by over 8,000 undergraduates in 2016, 2019, and 2022. Furthermore, we share the design principles and lessons learned from several innovative, award-winning initiatives designed to foster critical sustainabilities at UC Santa Cruz.

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