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Pillars of Change

Students, faculty and grads find innovative ways to mitigate global issues

By Hanna DeLange '18, M.A.

The concept of sustainability is based on the long-standing principle that everything people need for survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on the natural environment. Sustainability strives to solve global issues, such as poverty and hunger, poor sanitation, carbon emission and economic inequalities that hinder our goal to live in productive harmony with the environment that provides everyone and everything air, water and food. It is believed that people should be at the forefront solving these immediate global issues without compromising human, economic and environmental vitality.

As a field of study, sustainability is broad and interdisciplinary. Built upon three pillars—social equity, economic development and environmental protection—scholars study public policies, economics, social sciences, biology and more. Those in sustainability work in natural resource conservation, non-profit organizations, agriculture, politics, health assessment and law, and over the years, there will be more opportunities awaiting them. They are passionate leaders committed to championing a greener, more sustainable future.

At the University of South Dakota, the Department of Sustainability & Environment houses and graduates driven people who have the dedication, skill and forward-thinking ideas to solve the challenges that threaten the world.

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