Relocating Education for Sustainability: From the campus to the community
For 25 years, higher education has been challenged to provide a path toward sustainability. This challenge is both lofty and necessary. During this time, higher education has yet to make noticeable change. I argue that this failure is because the movement is based on an inaccurate conceptualization of sustainability and false assumptions of the capacity of higher education. If we dig into the conception of sustainability itself and determine a more appropriate perspective, we may be able to reset the aims of the movement. If higher education can make this transition, it may need to recognize that it is not quite the dominant educational force it intends to be. Built on the sustainable vision that I propose in this study, HEIs should consider their position in the local ecology and reconsider their role within their greater communities. Communities that also independently strive for sustainability, and specifically eco-centric community partners such as parks, can help create a collaborative team that together with higher education institutions may have a chance at achieving the lofty goals. In addition, I analyze the specific context of Stark County, Ohio, and explore the potential for community-centered education for sustainability.