Colorado State’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability Announces New Research Working Groups

Colorado State University’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability is pleased to announce the spring 2009 research working groups dedicated to meeting the broad array of environmental and sociological issues of sustainability. The working groups will build upon some of CSU’s traditional areas of scientific strength – water, crops, livestock, land-use change and global change.

The school will help faculty cross traditional disciplinary boundaries to explore local and global sustainability issues. Students will benefit through intellectual advancement and by developing real-world innovations to solve environmental problems.

One of the main goals of the school is to encourage integration of the natural and social sciences with the policy and design-making community and creating a deeper understanding of complex environmental problems. The research working groups will help faculty from a host of disciplinary backgrounds interact to better understand and forecast the impacts of contemporary global changes, including climate change, land-use change and invasive species and how these issues impact environmental sustainability.

"The school is placing a significant investment in forging new ‘multidisciplinary research think tanks’ to assist CSU faculty who want to use their expertise and creativity to explore solutions to so many of the earth’s pressing problems. CSU has incredibly bright and talented faculty that want to work together and advance knowledge. They will make a tremendous difference," said Diana Wall, director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

The school, which was created last summer, has more than 150 Colorado State faculty members affiliated with it. Students through the Student Environmental Leadership Network and post-doctoral researchers are also involved and integral to sharing knowledge in the research working groups of the school.

The spring 2009 research working groups join the school’s first research working groups awarded in fall 2008. The Global Change Theory Research Working Group is led by biology Professor Alan Knapp and includes scientists from other campuses. Political science Professor Michele Betsill is leading the Environmental Governance Research Working Group. This working group has 50 faculty members participating from five colleges across the university.

The newest research working groups cross all eight CSU colleges. Funds from the school will be used to enhance existing initiatives and to catalyze and establish new group activities such as panels, workshops, visiting experts and assessments. The groups are:

Sustainable Urban Water System Research Working Group: The lead principle investigators are Larry A. Roesner, and Sybil Sharvelle in civil and environmental engineering. This research working group will address the development of sustainable urban water systems in new urban communities along the Front Range of Colorado.

Crops for Health Research Working Group: Elizabeth Ryan and Henry J. Thompson, both in horticulture and researchers in the Cancer Prevention Laboratory, and Barbara Wallner in CSU’s School of Education will lead a multidisciplinary research working group that explores issues related to link agricultural production of staple foods to nutritional goals and human health needs. This group works to create food systems that make sustainable improvements in human nutrition and health through environmental disease control and prevention.

Institute for Society, Landscape, and Ecosystem Change Research Working Group: The lead principle investigators are Chris Fisher and Kathleen Galvin in the anthropology department. The researchers in this working group will study the long-term trajectory of human/environmental landscapes and their sustainability and resilience under conditions of global change.

Institute for Livestock and the Environment Research Working Group: The lead principle investigator is Jessica Davis, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and director of CSU’s Institute for Livestock and the Environment. The research working group will assess the relationship between livestock and the environment with five focus areas – water quality, air quality, ecosystems, pathogens and pharmaceuticals. Livestock interactions with the environment are a critical issue here in Colorado and around the world.