Foundations of Sustainable Systems

Spring 2019
Spring 2018
Beril Toktay
Kim Cobb
Matthew J. Realff
SLS 3120

This course discusses how to make a “system” – a community, a region, a supply chain, a company – more sustainable, both environmentally (lower CO2 emissions, better water quality, etc.) and socially (more equitable, more prosperous, etc.).  We will explore sustainability from a systems perspective, discussing stakeholder views and trade-offs between different dimensions of sustainability.  We will  discuss the value and limits of technological, policy and business solutions in the context of climate change, material scarcity and energy poverty. Students will have the opportunity to learn from a variety of guest speakers and to work on a project of their choice. Projects last year included “Shut the Sash”, “Reusable To-Go Containers”, “Red Goes Green” and “Textile Conservation Campaign”.

Who should take this course? Even students holding "traditional" jobs or starting their own companies are finding that at some stage in their career, their work responsibilities or sphere of influence include sustainability- and community-related issues, whether it be in design, supply chain, management, engineering, ethics, marketing, community impact, or recruiting, to name a few.  Students who are aiming to have sustainability-focused jobs or public service careers will find this course particularly useful.  Questions: Contact Beril Toktay,

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