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SGSI 2022: Exploring Planetary Stewardship: Sustainability Solutions in a Rapidly Changing World

Course Closed

Monday, Sept. 12 – Friday, Sept. 16, 9 AM – 4 PM; optional Jasper Ridge Field Trip, Friday 9:30-2:30 PM 

Join us to explore planetary stewardship from a range of perspectives, including systems and solutions orientations. Through guest speakers, large- and small-group discussions, and hands-on workshops with faculty and academic staff deeply engaged in the design of Stanford’s new school focused on climate and sustainability, you will hone your knowledge and skills in areas from systems thinking 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
  • Mele Wheaton, associate director for program and strategy, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER)

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 their 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 critical normative thinking--are key 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 skills-based workshops, organized and hosted by faculty and staff active in designing Stanford’s new school focused on climate and sustainability, students will deepen their knowledge and learn new skills while also expanding their on- and off-campus networks in climate, energy, and sustainability. Each day consists of a morning and afternoon session where students will have opportunities to hear from guest 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. Students will then 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 the afternoon, students will participate in workshops, including those on science communication and leadership, among others. The final day will conclude with a design-thinking workshop in which students envision and then plan their own sustainability path.

Past participants who took this course said the following about their experience:

Even though this is a course on sustainability, it teaches you beyond that and that are many skill sets that are translatable to other areas! -SGSI 2021 Participant

The emphasis on workshops was a great highlight of the program, and the common thread of systems thinking was a great way to tie everything together and create a curriculum that was applicable and actionable. -SGSI 2021 Participant

Additional Course Expectations

  • Optional field trip on Friday to Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (9:30AM to 2:30PM). Sack lunch and transportation provided from main campus.

  • Full attendance is expected. This course is able to accommodate students observing a religious holiday during SGSI. Please email for details.

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: