Freshman Studies will include environmental awareness class

Freshman Studies has decided to include a pilot lesson about sustainability in all University Life courses held next semester.

University Life is a required course for all Seton Hall freshmen that currently covers topics including time management, campus resources, mental health, and diversity.

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The new lesson is the brainchild of the Student Government Association (SGA)’s Environmental Protection and Conservation Committee, or EPACC.

The new lesson will include teachings on how students can be more sustainable and environmentally conscious in their everyday lives, and will discuss how individuals contribute to climate change.

“As more students become socially aware of these environmental issues, it is our job as the university to educate the students on these foundational issues and equip them with the knowledge to be sustainable people in their lives,” EPACC Commissioner, Julia Nicolls said.

The 50-minute course will run once in all three of the University Life sections which run next semester and will be taught by EPACC members.

“We’re going to be teaching students the proper way to recycle, ways to live more sustainably, and ways they can get involved in making our campus more sustainable,” EPACC member Carolyn Murray said.

EPACC hopes that the course will not only teach students about how to live sustainably, but also compel them to live their lives in a more environmentally friendly way.

“It’s necessary to educate students on living more eco-friendly because of the impact we could have,” Murray said. “If we inspire one student to switch from using plastic water bottles to using a reusable one, think about the environmental impact of that. And if we inspire more students to live more sustainably, the positive impact will only multiply.”

The course will also aim to help students understand their personal impact on climate change and how to reduce their carbon footprint.

“We all have a part to play in addressing the climate crisis and everyone can improve,” Nicolls said. “Seton Hall has many different areas of improvement.”

If the course is successful in the spring semester, it will be integrated officially into University Life courses next fall.

The idea was first pushed by Nicolls last year, but she was not successful in implementing her new lesson until this semester.

Robin Cunningham, Dean of Freshman Studies, approved the pilot course after being approached by Nicolls and EPACC about the idea.

“So far I have made a commitment to EPACC for one 50-minute class in the spring,” Dean Cunningham said. “After I see how the spring class develops I will decide about presenting in the fall.”

As the environmental wing of the SGA, EPACC has worked to cut down on waste across the University. This has included working with GDS to cut waste, working with facilities to turn off lights that are not being used and creating posters in trash rooms detailing proper recycling techniques.

It is not yet clear what University Life lesson will be replaced by the new sustainability lesson if the program is continued in the fall semester.

Dan O’Connor can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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