Water conservation is a growing issue and to help educate students, Metro State will be offering a Water Studies minor, beginning Fall 2012.
The One World, One Water Center for Urban water Education and Stewardship received an anonymous gift of $1 million, to be distributed over the next five years to implement the program.
“Water is a central issue in Colorado,” said Sandra Haynes, Dean of the School of Profession Studies at Metro. “Explosive residential development along the Front Range is rapidly depleting the Denver basin’s aquifers.”
“Water stewardship and sustainability is an especially important and responsible education topic,” said Haynes. The One World, One Water Center’s pilot program is “designed to deepen students’ understanding of water as a critical resource that must be sustained and conserved for all,” said Haynes.
The main function of the Water Studies program is to enhance water stewardship on and beyond the campus by promoting effective use of water resources. Classes will involve education on issues such as urban waterway restoration, water law, hydro-philanthropy, conflict resolution, conservation, and stream reclamation.
“Metro State offers what no other higher educational institutional in Colorado can,” said Haynes. “An urban campus adjacent to a major headwater river, the South Platte; a focus on educating undeserved/disadvantaged populations, and graduates who largely stay in Colorado and the Denver Metro area, thereby empowering and affecting change in our region.”
The program is a project-based, which will introduce to students the importance of water resources through academic and community engagement. Those partaking in a water studies minor “will complete a senior thesis project with a focus on water stewardship to demonstrate a grasp of water conservation alongside discipline-specific methodologies” as stated in the program’s proposal.
Students will be required to attend a monthly seminar or workshop through the One World, One Water Center. The seminars are meant to expose students to the “real life” impacts of water resources in Colorado.
Students participating in water studies will also have the opportunity to converse with stakeholders who are directly involved in water policy and classes will include many guest speakers in environmental fields.
Auraria has already begun to highlight the importance of water conservation in their green movements. In partnership with Denver Water and the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program, new shower fixtures were put in the PE Events Center, making the showers 65 percent more efficient than the previous showers according to Jill Golich, head of Auraria Higher Education Center’s Green board.
Golich said the campus has also replaced 413 toilets, 145 urinals, and 210 sink faucets with low flow devices. These two projects alone result in an annual four million gallons saved, which is about seven percent of the campus’ water usage.
According to Haynes, the One World, One Water Center plans for water education to be a focal point of Metro State in 2012 with many awareness-raising activities.