CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability Announces New Research Working Groups and Resident Fellowship Awards

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University recently announced two new research working groups and three new resident fellowships for 2009-2010.

The three new resident fellows will receive support from the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES, to further their studies in global environmental sustainability.

Joe Champ, associate professor in the CSU Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, is looking forward to continuing his exploration into how people live in relation to nature. Champ’s research uses the state of Montana as a model.

“We believe that the way the people in Montana live in relation to nature provides a model for the rest of the country, if not the world. Once we can better understand how they are living with the natural world, perhaps we can export that idea to places where maybe nature has been kind of run over,” said Champ.

Sammy Zahran, an assistant professor with the Department of Sociology at CSU, will also be joining the School of Global Environmental Sustainability with a resident fellowship. Zahran will use his fellowship time to extend research interests in the demography and social epidemiology of anthropogenic and natural hazards.

“I’m particularly interested in extending work underway with an interdisciplinary team of economists, statisticians, chemists and toxicologists investigating standardized test performance of children in metropolitan New Orleans as a function of heavy metal accumulation in playground soils and blood lead levels in children,” Zahran said. “Our analyses raise serious sustainability questions on cost-effectiveness of remediation, high-stakes testing and neurological loss.”

A third resident fellow, Christopher Fisher, an associate professor with the CSU Department of Anthropology, will spend his time continuing the work of SoGES’s 2008 research working group, The Institute for Society, Landscape, and Ecosystem Change. Fisher will focus on human/environment perspectives, particularly complex land-use problems such as deforestation, urbanization, the wild land/urban interface, desertification and land degradation.

Two new research working groups will join the School of Global Environmental Sustainability in its mission to develop collaborative research environments that cross many different departments within Colorado State University.

The new Regenerative Urban Environments Research Working Group includes faculty members from nine different departments and will focus on creating a guideline framework for communities, organizations and project teams that want to develop living environments. A living environment is a new concept and paradigm shift – the notion that built environments, neighborhoods, communities, buildings, and even manufactured objects can have a positive, symbiotic impact on the natural environment.

“We are in the early stage of developing a new, potentially significant idea and process,” said Brian Dunbar, the lead researcher for the Regenerative Urban Environments Research Working Group. “The SoGES funding and support allows us to coordinate our efforts, bring together recognized campus researchers and community leaders and also engage graduate students from multiple disciplines.”

The other working group – Educating for Sustainability, Peace and Reconciliation: Managing the Conflicts of Human Needs and Place with Finite Resources will focus on the educational aspects of sustainability.

“Faculty involved with peace and reconciliation research recognize the need to connect that work with what is being done on sustainability. We plan to produce an anthology of case studies that others can use that unite these two areas of teaching and research,” said William Timpson, program lead and professor in the School of Education. “We plan to field test and publish a number of case studies that will be used in our own courses and made available through SoGES and we hope to have future opportunities beyond CSU’s campus.”

“We are very excited about the new additions to our research arm,” said Diana Wall, director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. “We look forward to continuing our mission of developing new strategies for global sustainability that will address environmental and human- environmental grand challenges and inform solutions to global environmental problems through our support of these new research working groups and resident fellows.”

A first for the state, the School of Global Environmental Sustainability is an umbrella organization that encompasses all environmental education and research at Colorado State University. The school positions CSU to address the multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular, and outreach initiatives. Areas emphasis will include food security, poverty, inequality, water management strategies and desertification, globalization, industrial ecology, sustainable engineering, population growth, and urbanization. This approach will capitalize on the University’s historic strength in environmental research and education, and will build upon the education and research that already exists within all eight colleges on campus; from the Warner College of Natural Resources to the College of Business.

For more information, please visit www.soges.colostate.edu.