At MUM students take a more holistic and open-minded approach to solving our planet’s problems, our students learn to reorient current systems toward the regeneration and renewal of human society.
by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
5 April 2015
A hands-on approach and an orientation toward those who want to make a change in the world are prominent and unique features of a new MA in Sustainable Living at Maharishi University of Management that will begin this fall.
During the first year of the program students will spend half their time in class and half in the community addressing challenges. The second year will be entirely devoted to going out and working on a major project wherever there is a need, with one option being a 25-month hitch in the Peace Corps.
"This really makes the program unique," said David Fisher, chair of the Department of Sustainable Living.
"We have a lot more practical application than other programs."
Dr. Fisher said local challenges that could be a focus for students might include the city's recurring wastewater overflows, the housing shortage, the percentage of people in the county living below the poverty line, and the proposed Bakken oil pipeline.
Working in teams of three or four, the students will identify a problem, meet with faculty and a project coordinator to design a strategy for dealing with it, and then go out and tackle the challenge.
In some cases the students will work within structures that already exist, such as collaborating with Fairfield Sustainability Coordinator Scott Timm. Dr. Fisher said organizations that would receive attention could be the hospital, library, or campus. In every case, the goal is to create "deep sustainability."
"Deep sustainability includes going beyond efficiency and substitution when necessary to radically re-design systems from the ground up," Dr. Fisher said.
The program is oriented both toward revolutionaries—those who prefer to spend their energy imagining new realities and designing creative solutions to implement them—and toward transformers—those who recognize the value of current structures and strive to work at high levels within existing organizations and structures, creating change from within.
In addition to the hands-on approach, the newly designed courses will focus on collaborative learning rather than the usual lecture method. Students will spend much of their time analyzing and discussing issues that are raised in assigned readings and documentaries.
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