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Posted: Wednesday, November 12th 2008 at 3:20pm

Brenau dedicates plaque commemorating new course

By Staff
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Brenau University junior Candice Snow of Suwanee, Ga., gets down and dirty with environmental sustainability during hand-on service aspects of a new multidiscipline honors seminar
GAINESVILLE – Brenau University students, faculty and staff dedicated a plaque Wednesday commemorating the university's first multi-discipline course in environmental sustainability.

The plaque was presented at the site on campus where students recently planted a small group of trees several days ago as part of the project.

The semester-long seminar, which examines all aspects of environmental sustainability from philosophical and religious responsibility to bottom-line business practicality, includes a service learning component that involved students’ getting to the “roots” of the issue by planting some new trees on the Gainesville campus.

“What this course demonstrates is that sustainability can be applied to the environment, to business, education, health care and just about anything else human beings do,” said Maria Zayas, associate professor of psychology and moderator of the upper-level course for honors students.

For example, James Sennett, a philosophy professor who specializes in religious issues, instructed students on moral and philosophical paradigms for sustainability while business professors William Haney and Theresa Thamer addressed economic aspects. And Wayne Dempsey, the university’s chief financial officer, later this semester will cover practical considerations of sustainability for entities like Brenau University.

Honors seminars for top, upper-level students generally prepare participants for their long-term research-intensive senior thesis projects. The sustainability seminar, however, is the first on campus anyone can remember that required them to become intimately familiar with shovels, dirt, burlap-wrapped root balls and mulch.

The students planted the eight trees Nov. 5 at an open space on campus between Virginia Hall and Thurmond McRae Lecture Hall adjacent to the university library. Trees were donated by Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation Department under the guidance of the Yahoola Creek Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization that stewards the use of Yahoola Park in Dahlonega, Ga. The students also helped the conservancy with a plant sale fund-raiser for its activities last month.
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