Sustainability Matters

Students and community members clear mangroves at Waikalua Loko I’a as part of a sustainability focused course – Courtesy of Christian Palmer

WCC’s new ASC in Sustainability

The Sustainability Curriculum Committee at WCC has recently worked to create an Academic Subject Certificate (ASC) in Sustainability. We are the second of the University of Hawai‘i community colleges to create this certificate with Kapi’olani being the first and a number of others working to develop these certificates.

This is part of a larger effort across all of the UH System community colleges to develop curricula that teach students about the environment and the challenges of living within the ecological limits of the planet.

The ASC in Sustainability is interdisciplinary and can be earned along with any of the associates degrees offered at WCC and functions kind of like a minor. To earn it, you must take three sustainability focused courses, one in Natural Sciences, one in Hawaiian Studies, and one in Social Sciences, Humanities or Language Arts as well as an independent study course in any discipline that focuses on an independent project around a sustainability topic.

Because it only requires students to take 12 credits and most of these also fulfill other requirements as well, it is meant to be earned relatively quickly without adding a lot of extra work.

This interdisciplinary focus emphasizes that every career and discipline can contribute to making our communities more sustainable. It also provides a significant amount of flexibility for students to tailor the ASC to their own areas of interest.

Currently there are 31 sustainability designated, or S-designated courses at WCC. While they are not required for graduation, the S-designation can steer interested students towards courses and instructors interested in environmental questions and now can be used towards getting the academic subject certificate. Kind of like the WI-designation, this designation makes it so that any course can help students learn these necessary skills to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century. The ASC will officially start in spring 2019, so please come talk to Christian Palmer or any instructor teaching an S-designated course if you are interested in getting the certificate.


By Christian Palmer, special to Ka ‘Ohana