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SGSI 2021: Exploring Planetary Stewardship: Sustainability Solutions in a Rapidly Changing World

*Course is closed and no longer accepting applications

Tuesday, Sept. 7 – Friday, Sept. 10, 9 AM – 4 PM

Explore planetary stewardship from a range of perspectives, including systems and solutions orientations. Through guest speakers, large- and small-group discussions, hands-on workshops, and a panel with faculty designing Stanford’s new climate and sustainability school, you will hone your knowledge and skills in areas from alternative energy to waste management, from climate change to community engagement, and more. By the end of the week, you will have expanded your network of colleagues in the fields of environment, energy, and sustainability, and you will leave with actionable next steps to apply a sustainability lens to your own scholarship.


  • Nicole M. Ardoin, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), Woods Institute for the Environment, Graduate School of Education
  • Noah Diffenbaugh, School of Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences, Woods Institute for the Environment
  • Mele Wheaton, research scholar, Social Ecology Lab, Woods Institute for the Environment & Graduate School of Education

Audience & Capacity

Open to all graduate students in any discipline, as well as postdoctoral scholars, if space allows. If oversubscribed, preference is given to doctoral students in the first 3 years of their program. Space is limited to 30.


By participating fully in this course, you will:

  • Have knowledge of key aspects of sustainability through various disciplinary perspectives
  • Develop skills and knowledge in core sustainability mindset areas, including systems, transdisciplinary, and research-and-practice thinking
  • Be able to apply sustainability mindsets to your own areas of scholarly interest


This course introduces graduate students and postdocs to key ideas in sustainability, emphasizing knowledge as well as actionable skills, including how students might apply sustainability mindsets, theoretical frames, and approaches in their own scholarship. The sustainability competencies core to this course--systems thinking, transdisciplinary thinking, and research-and-practice thinking--are critical not only for conducting effective research in sustainability, but also for connecting one’s work to change-making spaces such as policy, industry, and conservation organizations. As students deepen their knowledge and learn new skills, they will also be expanding their on and off-campus networks in climate, environment, and sustainability.

Designed around a combination of guest speakers, large and small group discussions, and a panel conversation with faculty active in designing Stanford’s new climate and sustainability school, students will deepen their knowledge and learn new skills while also expanding their on- and off-campus networks in climate, environment, and sustainability. Each day consists of a morning and afternoon session where students will have opportunities to hear from faculty speakers, engage in reflective/interactive activities, and participate in skills-based workshops. In the morning session, speakers and facilitators will introduce the day’s sustainability competency theme through a lecture and interactive activities. In the afternoon, students will hear research scholars speak about how they have applied and instantiated the competencies in their own work through topics such as climate change, alternative energy, waste management, and community engagement. In addition, students will have the option to choose among skills-based workshops, including those on science communication and leadership, among others. The final day will conclude with a faculty panel and a design-thinking workshop in which students envision and then plan their own path forward.

Additional Course Expectations

  • Outside class time may include optional virtual field trips to: Jasper Ridge Biological Station, Stanford Educational Farm, Hopkins Marine Station.
  • Full attendance is expected. This course is able to accommodate students observing a religious holiday during SGSI. Please email for details.

Apply Here

SUNet ID required to log in; all SGSI correspondence sent to your Stanford email account.


Resource Type: 
Course or Workshop
Target Audience: 
All Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Scholars
Time Commitment: 
Grad Grow Competency: