In our Resources section, which is password protected but you should have access, we now have a scan of key selections from the book No Citizen Left Behind which is part of our preparation for the April Institute. The .pdf file is one of the first items at the top of our Resources page.
I took a paragraph from this book and used it in two different ways with two different classes.  With my ESL class on comparative culture at SNHU, I had them respond to it in a PowerPoint presentation.  With my College Composition class at MCC, I had them respond to it in an essay for their midterm.  Here is the midterm with the paragraph I used:

Answer the question: what is a good citizen?  In your answer, respond to the following quote:

Can you be a good citizen if you don’t vote?  What if you vote, but are uninformed about most of the issues and candidates, or vote solely on the basis of a single issue?  How important is it to be law-abiding?  Is being economically self-sufficient a hallmark (or even a precondition) of good citizenship?  Is never being a burden on others enough to make one a good citizen? How should we judge the act of protesting injustice via civil disobedience against the act of sacrificing oneself on the battlefield for the good of the country?

From No Citizen Left Behind
by Meira Levinson

I got amazing results from both classes!  
As you prepare for our next Institute, some of the resources in this segment may prove to be thought-provoking as you consider ways to draw sustainability concepts into your courses.     
Source: School Nutrition
This 60 page magazine is full of ideas, program spotlights, leader highlights and kid-friendly ideas. Though some of the articles are set at the elementary level, there are certainly ways that ideas can translate across grade levels and communities.

The full text of School Nutrition is available here online. When you go to the page, notice the arrows in the upper center of the screen; these will take you through the document page by page. There are several other neat navigation features to check out - printing, sharing, etc.

New Hampshire Farm to School Program

Click the image below to be directed to the home page for the NH Farm to School Program. This vast resource provides resources, program examples, lists ways to get involved, and more useful links.
Source: NH Farm to School Program

National Farm to School Network

The excerpt below is from thr National Farm to School Network's own introduction. Of particular interest here may be their leadership model: not prescribing or imposing, but rather connecting and enriching the experience of local programs.
Source: NH Farm to School Network
I wanted to share an opportunity with you all!  I look forward to formally meeting everyone during our April Ins

Here is the link for details about this sustainability institute and application: 

Hello All:

This is a great program that immerses you in studying Gandhi and his impact on the world. I did it about 5 years ago and loved the two weeks in California. All it cost me was the plane ticket, some walk-around money, and tickets to the Hollywood Bowl. It was an 8 credit graduate course!!!

I would highlight the following

• Residential Fellowship. Successful participants will be awarded fellowships covering the costs of instruction plus room and board for two weeks, books and materials, and the use of Cal Poly Pomona Library.
• Course Credit, Professional Development and Career Advancement. The Fellowship award will also cover the cost of 8 units of course credits. These credits may be used toward a Master’s degree and/or salary advancement.

Call for Applications

Residential Summer Institute Fellowship for K-12 Educators

Gandhi, Sustainability and Happiness

Cal Poly Pomona
July 29-August 12, 2013

Application Deadline: Monday, April 8, 2013 Download the Program Flyer

Ahimsa Center’s 2013 Summer Institute for K-12 teachers—the fifth one in a series on education about nonviolence—will focus on Mohandas K. Gandhi, Sustainability, and Happiness. Gandhi’s enduring significance is anchored in his uncompromising commitment to ahimsa or nonviolence—the experience of oneness with others and nature--as the foundation for his vision of humanity, and for the well-being and happiness of all, which he called sarvodaya. Sustainability refers to the ability to sustain life, while maintaining an ecological balance that is rooted in caring for nature and caring for the needs of generations to come. Happiness endures in a solidly grounded sense of well-being, of flourishing, and of having found meaning and purpose in life. This two-week residential institute will focus on examining the relevance of Gandhi’s thought for the current discourses on sustainability and happiness.

This institute will provide a select group of forty K-12 educators an extraordinary opportunity for educational leadership by becoming adept at integrating in school curricula the lessons based on critical understanding of Gandhi’s life and its significance for achieving the goals of sustainability and enduring happiness.

For fellowship details, including selection criteria, and application procedure, visit

Applications will be accepted through Monday, April 8, 2013 and will be reviewed as they come in. Early application is strongly recommended.

For queries or additional information, please feel free to contact

Tara Sethia, Ph.D.
Director, Ahimsa Center
Professor of History
Cal Poly Pomona
Pomona, CA 91768
(909) 869-3868

Also, if you're into LEGOS and have a teacher you can partner with, here's a grant that's due NEXT week....
We discussed the power of artifacts to draw student interest, and this recent article in the UNH Magazine (Winter 2013) shows a powerful and sustainable model. Through a combination of narrative and research-driven facts, the article outlines an exhibit that is much more than a static member of the "moth ball fleet." The dresses were originally collected to be used as hands-on models for student seamstresses. Today, they are a study in late 1800's society and enough has been documented about items in the collection that we can start to piece together some of the individual personality of the dress wearers. The article is posted as a .pdf in our Resources section.

There are so many directions this article excites thought - the first that comes to mind is the idea of having students bring one article of clothing that represents something about themselves, their experiences, their hopes and use it as a springboard into discussion and connections with character analysis (literature) or development (composition). Social Studies connections abound here, as well. What do durable styles and trends say about a people? How does clothing so carefully match economic and social status? What do the personal artifacts left behind say about what a culture valued - and which of your valued artifacts will exist in a hundred years, from which others may try to figure you out?

This article points out something bigger than the grabber-level attention-getting school scenario. The work involved is bigger than the exhibit; it's bigger than the students who get involved one way or another each term. By collecting, studying, and making these artifacts accessible to students of all walks, the leaders mentioned in Harrigan's article are part of a sustainable effort. There is material, interest, momentum, and significance to their work. Keeping the material relevant to today's scholars helps keep the "curriculum" related to the "clothes" lifeted up to a sustainable level. When we consider sustainable curriculum and sustainable culture, this is the sort of durability that makes a powerful model
                                                                                                                                          Amanda Eason,
1930 Chris Craft
The idea of cultural sustainability has a powerful draw to me as an "English teacher." Each course I teach - whether it's literature, composition, fiction, study strategies or skills level reading, the question emerges from students: Why does this matter? Why should we care? Why can't we just read and write what we want? Especially at the community college level, where folks are very much driven by their chosen career path, students question the validity of the "English" curriculum. They have every right to question this! The traditional response, of course, is that their college experience is building them up to be a powerful professional with excellent communication skills, who is well-read and capable of discussing in writing or verbally topics necessary for their field; adequate citizenship gets thrown into the conversation, as well. What does this mean to the 17-30 year old student in a mandated course? I'm not sure. That's why this idea of cultural sustainability means so much.

Engendering the interest in, and ability to document the world around us is one surface-level feature of sustainable culture. Earlier societies accomplished this through bards, later through the Bible and other written resources, still later through multi-media avenues. Currently, however, we have to wonder how our world of the living generations will be documented. We've learned a bit of mistrust for history texts as they are, and the internet is not necessarily the most durable option. Some students have the feeling that Facebook will save their stories, that future generations will glean their history from the pages of the internet, and that "my story doesn't matter anyway!" If a group doesn't have hope that others are interested in their culture, then they are less likely to be interested in that of others. Communication, and growth fail in this case. So, what do we do, and where do we go from here?

To begin the process of finding out what has been done so far with cultural sustainability, I grabbed a few quick internet sources and posted them in our Resources section under a new heading, Cultural Sustainability. As I continue to build the professional development presentation, "Poetry of Ecology and Farming" I intend to bring the idea of cultural sustainability into the foreground - what a better answer to "Why?" for a topic like this - or for other topics that include keeping past stories alive in durable, sustainable ways?     :)

For example, on another note, another topic - how else to get young folks interested in history than making it alive and loud? That may work for a small few, but at the same time - the culture of those who originally built and enjoyed these boats is almost forgotten. Bit by bit, each year more stories are lost.
                                                                                                Amanda Eason

One item that came up today involved the question of why and how one generation reacts differently from the next generation to stressors (like how Las Madres reacted to the Disappeared Ones versus the orphan daughter astronomer). This made me think about the rings of a tree. If we consider each year of a culture’s development to be represented by a ring of growth in the tree, we can make some comparisons that help wrap our minds around sustainability and its function. A good year’s growth would be one in which all sustaining factors are met: environmental conditions are correct for optimal growth and minimal damage.

One year, an axe scars the outer skin of the tree; here is Pinochet’s terror. The tree weeps; it bleeds sap and begins the process of healing. Subsequent years’ growth in that area is focused on repairing the damage. Those scarred areas don’t transmit nutrient any longer, but the tree repurposed energy to move growth along regardless.  If the scar is deep enough, this can take years to heal and the tree’s overall health will suffer.

Another year, on another part of the tree, damage from the strong winds of a hurricane weakens one side of the tree’s infrastructure; the tree responds by developing more root strength and greater toughness tissues to sustain the weight and balance of the tree. Taking a core sample from this tree in one vector may reveal decades of no damage; these are our privileged few. A tree old enough will have hidden scars underneath its layers. Anyone who splits and burns wood will tell you these are strong parts, tougher to split and usually burn better.  It is these features of the tree’s growth and its reaction to pain and suffering that make the tree sustainable.

If we compare the tree's system to sustainability in education, then we would be an agent that undertakes the burden of belaying stress, pain, and suffering and buffering it so that the whole impact is spread throughout to alleviate scarring and move growth forward.  We may not stop the scarring (and perhaps not directly address the pain, like the young woman raised by grandparents after her parents Disappeared did not immediately go looking for bones)  but we all can help repurpose energy to heal and move culture forward, hopefully, and taller.      - Amanda Eason

We began day two of our 2 1/2 day first institute (after a wonderful tour of James Hall and the Scheier displays at Dimond Library on the UNH campus) this morning with participants sharing artifacts they use in their teaching. Teachers and faculty talked about curricula they use, assignments they've given to students, media they use to inspire (like NPR's This I Know), even rocks they've collected from hikes. The diversity of the artifacts was fascinating, but all showed how participants are developing purposeful curricula to engage their students in big issues and topics but in ways that connect to them personally - stories, passport boxes, films, etc. The compassion the participants have for their students is evident.

Questions came out that are tied directly to sustainability: how do we help our students learning to trust, how do we help create a sense of place and community with our students, what stories help connect students to larger issues and questions? These questions are crucial and will lead us into the rest of the day.

Our very first institute is March 1-3, 2013, on the UNH Durham campus, and we are excited to have you on board for this journey.

This blog is for SLC participants to share what they are learning, ask and answer each other's questions, share ideas, and reflect on the entire process of designing sustainability pedagogy, curricula and assessment strategies for their classrooms. 

SLC participants: this is YOUR website and YOUR blog! Start writing, start challenging yourself and each other, and we'll take these ideas and questions and use them at future institutes. You can use them as well as you develop your pedagogy, curricula and assessments.

We at the Sustainability Institute at UNH are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with and learn from you. Sustainability is a big idea. It demands collaboration, a transdisciplinary perspective, and many, many hearts and minds working together to make it happen. We thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to be part of this new project. We know we will learn so much from each of you, building relationships that last well beyond the life of this project and that will push sustainability forward for our students, the next generation of sustainability leaders.

Welcome to our sustainability learning community!

Sara Cleaves, UNHSI