Two professors attended a conference in France for the College’s Center for Sustainability and the Environment (CSE) from Oct. 17-19. Dr. Andrew French and Dr. Tim Lincoln both participated in an international workshop titled Eco cities for the Future: Innovation within Territories at Université de Versailles.St-Quentin-En-Yvelines (UVSQ).
“Going to France allowed me to be introduced to a bunch of other faculty who are at UVSQ who are also involved in sustainability issues,” French said.
While in France, French and Lincoln met with faculty from Grand Valley University, as well as professors from universities in Germany, China, England and France. They contributed to panels and workshops with other academics in the field of sustainability.
“The first [panel] was to talk about the process of establishing the center and some information about Albion College’s center and this major, and the other one was really about the relationship that we had [with UVSQ],” French said.
Dr. Doug White, associate director of the CSE, has been teaching at the College since 1995 and has been involved with environmental activism since the 60s and 70s. He helps to establish the relationship with UVSQ and works closely with the program, which has 60 students.
“[UVSQ and Albion College] are collaborators in offering the Sustainability Studies major,” White said. “You might think of the major as a three to two program where work at two institutions completes an Albion degree. Sustainability Studies students will spend fall of their junior year at UVSQ. Completing Albion’s Sustainability Studies major will also give graduates the option of earning a UVSQ masters in sustainability with just one additional year of work in France.”
Sara Sample, Sterling Heights sophomore, is studying French and is a member of the CSE. She’s taking two sustainability studies courses now and will be the first student in the program to attend UVSQ in Fall 2013.
“I’m really excited, but I’m really nervous, too,” Sample said.
She thinks there is a lot to be learned from both professors at Albion and professors in France. The environment is a passion of hers.
“I just think that the environment is really interesting and people don’t really seem like they take enough care of it, and it’s a major issue, in my opinion,” Sample said. “There’s a lot of things that people in the past did that people weren’t concerned with until fairly recently.”
Sample is also concerned with the economics involved.
“[My class is] about environmental economics on sustainability studies, and that’s kind of a main part of sustainability studies, environmental or ecological economics,” Sample said. “Putting monetary value on different aspects on the environmental services.”
Overall, the conference allowed French and Lincoln to further develop the academic relationship between Albion College and UVSQ. French was assured that the work he and Martin O’Connor, a professor at UVSQ, do will continue to progress.
“The best advice I ever heard as a politician and a member of the City Council is that every good idea has a champion, but if that idea is to be successful, you have to separate the idea from the champion,” French said. “Because of the champion were to leave, the idea will die with it, unless the idea can be separated. Knowing those other people lead me to believe that the idea is now separate from Martin and from me, so it has be a much better chance of being successful.”
Photo provided by Dr. Andrew French