Sustainability in the Curriculum

Onondaga Community College is working to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. The College received a grant from the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) to develop sustainability-related academic programs and workforce training. This funding supports the expansion of sustainability-focused curriculum in the Automotive Technology, Environmental Technology, and Architectural Technology degree programs. Each of these programs has been actively working to integrate sustainability concepts into their courses. The Automotive Technology program includes instruction on alternative fuel vehicles such as natural gas, hybrid, and electric vehicle technologies. The Environmental Technology program includes coursework covering topics such as renewable energy, bio-materials, and waste management. The Architectural Technology program has successfully integrated green building and sustainable design principles throughout many courses in the department.

As part of the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), Onondaga identified sustainability-related courses offered by the College. These courses are listed below. 

ARH 101 Exploring Sustainability, Design, and The Built Environment

This course is an exploration of global built environments, with a focus on explaining significant design styles, movements, and trends within the context of the arts, politics, technology, business, the sciences, the social sciences, and an emphasis on sustainability. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course discusses the recent history of design in the built environment - what has impacted it and why. It is part of the three-course foundation for all Architecture and Interior Design students and is also a Liberal Arts elective.

ARH 144 Introduction to Sustainable Construction

This course is an introduction to the theory and principles of innovative sustainable construction with a focus on residential construction. The course takes an integrated design and ecological systems approach to high performance green building. Students learn how to reduce the ecological impact of the built environment using cutting-edge best practices. Topics include climate change, green building principles, performance standards and measurements, and rating systems including LEED(R) for Homes. Cost, life cycle assessment, energy efficiency, renewable energy and solar elements, and valuing "natural capital" will be discussed.

ARH 244 Residential Energy Performance

This course is a fundamental study of energy efficiency and building science with an emphasis on residential energy performance and analysis. Topics include basic energy principles; building thermal boundary; and the control of air, heat, and moisture. The interaction of building components with environmental factors is essential to the discussion. Efficiency strategies for lighting, appliances, heating, cooling, and water heating will be introduced. Strategies for dealing with home health, air quality, and combustion safety problems will be discussed. Fundamentals of building inspection and diagnosis will be covered, including the use of the blower-door, duct-blaster, manometer, infrared camera, smoke generator and other testing equipment. Students must be available for two four-hour field experiences, times and days to be determined.

ARH 245 Solar Design in the Built Environment

This course introduces the design and application of solar energy in building design and construction. The primary focus is on passive solar energy, daylighting and shading strategies. Discussion topics include the historical development of solar energy in buildings, designing with nature, energy conservation, heat theory and thermal comfort, solar processes, passive and active solar energy systems, thermal mass and storage, solariums, natural ventilation strategies and earth-sheltered buildings.

ARH 263 Green Building Rating Systems

This course acquaints the student with rating systems that seek to define and measure sustainable, high-performing "green" buildings. Focus is on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED(R) Green Building Rating System portfolio of rating products and the major LEED(R) credit categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, regional priorities, and innovative design. Course content includes an introduction to sustainability; core concepts; the integrated design approach; the LEED(R) certification process; and credit intents, requirements, and strategies. Other significant rating systems will be discussed and comparisons made with the LEED(R) system. Aspiring candidates for the GBCI LEED(R) Green Associate examination will find the course useful.

ATC 223 Hybrid, Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The course is designed to introduce the student into the theory and systems applications of modern hybrid, electric and alternative fuel vehicles, hydrogen and natural gas. All vehicle systems will be covered: HEV Technology, Hybrid Engines and Transmissions, Electric Machines, Power Inverter Systems, DC-DC Converter Systems, Hybrid Braking and Steering Systems, Battery Pack Technology. Emphasis in laboratory is placed on vehicle systems and safety. Three class hours and a three hour lab.

BIO 131 General Ecology

A study of the principles of energy and material flow through ecosystems; includes the introduction of population dynamics and community organization. This class is available for MTS science elective credit and is also recommended for students in non-science majors seeking general education science elective credit.

BIO 131L General Ecology Lab

A field and laboratory approach to ecological principles including energy and chemical flow through terrestrial and aquatic systems. Optional lab to be taken by current or former BIO 131 students. A Saturday field trip may be required, with an option for an equivalent Friday trip.

BIO 147 Environmental Health

This course reveals how the sustained vitality of the planet is essential for maintaining the health of the societies and economies of the Earth. Major topics showing the mutual dependence of these realms of human existence (i.e., ecology, culture, and economics) are discussed. These topics include population forces, habitat alteration, pollution of air/soil and living species, water use and abuse, agricultural methods, and fuel (both fossil and renewable). Practical and attainable solutions to our current problems in these areas are emphasized. Solutions range from the personal through community, national, and global levels.

BIO 161 Applied Environmental Biotechnology

This course will present the fundamentals of general, cellular, and molecular biology, and then build upon these foundations in the context of applied chemistry, microbiology, and microbial ecology. This four-credit course has been developed to provide students with an understanding of the structural and metabolic characteristics of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, in order to then develop comprehensive descriptions of important cellular-, enzymatic-, and/or microbial-based environmental and industrial processes. Specifically, the course will highlight applied biotechnological topics including applied microbiology, biochemistry, enzymology, microbial nutrient-cycling, composting, wastewater treatment, industrial fermentations, and biodegradation of chemical contaminants.

BUS 244 Business Law II

A study of the fundamental legal principles relating to agency relationships, sustainable business forms and practices, and other business forms to include partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.

ECO 160 Poverty, Inequality and Discrimination

This course covers various causes of poverty in the U.S. (relative poverty) and in developing nations (absolute poverty), as well as policies, programs, and proposals for improvement. Inequality, stratification, and discrimination are also addressed. This course satisfies the Humanities and Social Sciences Global Awareness requirement and is open to all students.

ELT 221 Home Technology Integration

This course explores devices, communication systems and protocols (Home Area Network) used at the consumer's home or small business with emphasis on energy management. It includes the use of home alternative energy sources, smart meters and connection to the grid. The course includes planning, implementation and management of HTI systems.

ELT 222 Introduction to Alternative Residential Energy Systems

Students practice the analysis and application of physical level services and methodologies as applied to residential alternative energy sources. Topics include power requirement estimation, solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel cell technologies as well as geothermal heating and cooling. Cost analysis and the time required to "break-even" are also included.

ENV 101 Introduction to Environmental Technology

This course provides an overview of the environmental technology field and also serves as the introductory course for the Environmental Technology program. The course applies the chemical, geological and biological sciences to environmental issues, and relates these issues to various possible career paths. Topics covered in the course include: governmental processes; hazardous materials, pollution and related health effects; basic ecology; hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal; biofuels and alternative energy technologies. In addition, the laboratory portion of the course will provide hands-on experience with work associated with the environmental industry.

ENV 110 Field Experience in Environmental Technology - Geoscience

A one credit field course designed for those students contemplating a career in Environmental Technology. The class will visit active, unrestricted sites currently undergoing remediation for soil and/or water contamination. Sampling protocols and proper field notetaking will be practiced. Two classroom sessions and two all day field trips during the fall semester.

ENV 162 Biofuels, Biomaterials, and Alternative Energy Technologies

Bioenergy, Biomaterials, and Alternative Energy Technologies (ENV 162) will provide a general overview of various current and emerging bio-based and other sustainable technologies for the production of energy, fuels, and materials. ENV 162 will introduce the fundamentals of the biorefinery concept for sustainable manufacturing, along with more detailed investigations of specific bioprocesses and renewable energy technologies. Specifically, the course will highlight several biomaterials (i.e. bio-plastics, -chemicals, -pharmaceuticals), biofuels (i.e. bio-ethanol, -butanol, -methanol, -diesel, -methane, and -hydrogen), and alternative energy technologies (i.e. wind, solar, hydrological, geothermal, and fuel cells).

ENV 165 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

This course provides a comprehensive overview, covering all facets of hazardous waste management and emergency response. Topics include practical exercises and training, which may be applied to business, industry, construction and institutions, including Federal and State rules and regulations, handling procedures and proper operation of a designated waste facility, storage, labeling, manifesting, shipment, employee training, proper use of safety equipment, emergency response procedures (spills response and clean up), cost-effective waste reduction, and environmental reporting procedures. This course is offered as a one week 40-hour course over the winter intersession and will provide 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification as specified in OSHA 29CFR 1910.120.

ENV 201 Internship in Environmental Technology – Geoscience

This course is designed for students in their last semester of the ETG AAS degree program, enabling them to gain real world experience with a private consulting firm or government agency. Students will spend a minimum of 40 hours working with a qualifying business or agency and attend two three-hour seminars.

GEG 101 Introduction to Geography

The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the basic concepts and methodology of world regional geography. Because geography incorporates aspects from multiple disciplines, we will examine geographic regions and introduce relative location, population characteristics, cultural features, physical environment, resources, major cities, economic development and historical perspectives. Furthermore, through individual projects, each student will introduce him or herself to world affairs and how events in one place can influence events in distant locations. Finally, basic geographic concepts will be introduced to help explain the variable character of the humanized earth.

GEG 203 Economic Geography

Economic Geography investigates how the global economic system works within a spatial framework. It focuses on the production, distribution and consumption of wealth in society and why wealth is not evenly distributed globally, regionally and locally. Topics covered include the shift from Command Economy to Market Economy in the former communist bloc; the American era of Fordism and the Dollar; the shift to Flexible Specialization/Production and its impact on laborers today; and the new space-economy dominated by strategic alliances, sourcing, free trade zones and trading blocs. A global perspective will be used to discuss the topics in the course.

GEO 106 Environmental Geology

An introduction to the principles of applied geological science related to solving environmental problems. As such the course provides an introduction into scientific studies of human interaction with the geologic environment, including the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Topics of study will include human population dynamics, soil generation and erosion, energy and mineral resources and management, waste management and disposal, water resources and water rights, water and air pollution, climate change, and related geologic principles that interact with these environmental problems. This course along with its optional laboratory course GEO-106L satisfies the requirements of those curricula demanding a science or laboratory science course. Only GEO-106L may be used with this course to represent a single laboratory science course. GEO-106 consists of three one-hour lectures or equivalent.

GEO 106L Environmental Geology Lab

This is a laboratory component to the Environmental Geology lecture (GEO-106). The laboratory provides practical hands-on experience for applied geological problems. Topics of study will involve waste management and methods of waste disposal including: sewage treatment, landfilling, recycling, waste minimization, and incineration. In addition, surface water and ground water hydrogeology will be investigated, especially in terms of groundwater resources. Basic mapping skills will also be investigated. Lastly, laboratory identification of rocks and minerals will be included in laboratories, while considering the economic uses and availability of these rocks & minerals. This course is intended for those who wish a deeper understanding of environmental geology and/or have a laboratory science requirement to satisfy.

GEO 205 Hydrology

This course introduces students to fundamental concepts and methods of analysis pertaining to the flow of surface/groundwater, water resources, water quality and contamination. Laboratory and classroom experience will include: the physics of water; descriptions and mathematics of water's movement in the surface water, vadose and groundwater settings; basic elements of soil mechanics and soil description; exploratory drilling and well installation; conducting and analyzing a pump test; surface water flow analysis and measurement; and analysis techniques of water chemistry. Several laboratories involve field work in and around the Onondaga campus measuring stream flow, installing and developing wells, testing wells, and collecting water samples. This course prepares students for the environmental field (governmental and consulting) and graduate programs in the environmental and hydrologic sciences.

IND 101 Exploring Sustainability, Design, and The Built Environment

This course is an exploration of global built environments, with a focus on explaining significant design styles, movements, and trends within the context of the arts, politics, technology, business, the sciences, the social sciences, and an emphasis on sustainability. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course discusses the recent history of design in the built environment - what has impacted it and why. It is part of the three-course foundation for all Architecture and Interior Design students and is also a Liberal Arts elective.

IND 140 Wood Frame Construction

This is a lecture course covering the materials and methods of contemporary residential construction, including sustainability and the latest building science. The characteristics, properties, performance and application of materials and systems used in wood frame construction will be discussed.

IND 215 Design Studio: Commercial

Students are expected to apply their knowledge of basic design principles, concepts, and design process to analyze and solve commercial interior design problems. Students study and apply principles of programming, concept getting, space planning, and elements of design, including material and finish selections, to create functional, attractive, accessible and sustainable commercial interiors. This design studio course focuses on specific user groups and commercial project types such as institutional, corporate, and retail. Oral presentation and manual and digital graphic 2D and 3D techniques are utilized to communicate project solutions.

IND 216 Design Studio: Residential

Students are expected to apply their knowledge of basic design principles, concepts, and design process to analyze and solve residential interior design problems. Students study and apply principles of programming, space planning, and elements of design to create functional, attractive, accessible, and sustainable residential interiors. Special emphasis is placed on kitchen and bath design, and on National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) guidelines and standards. Oral presentation, and manual and digital graphic 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional techniques are utilized to communicate project solutions.

IND 240 Residential Interiors

This course is an introduction to design and decoration of residential interiors. Topics include design principles and elements, approaches, sustainable environments and materials, furniture and decorating styles, fabrics, window treatments, accessories, and business practice.

PHI 120 Ethics in Engineering and Technology

This course is an investigation of fundamental ethical issues relating to the fields of engineering and technology, focusing on organizing principles and ethical theory to frame problems that are typically encountered in the engineering industry. Topics to be discussed include: professional responsibility and accountability; honesty and integrity in the workplace; intellectual property; conflicts of interest; environmental issues; risk, safety and product reliability; legal liability; and diversity in the workplace. Contemporary case studies will be examined and debated in the context of such traditional philosophical schools of thought as utilitarianism and Kantian ethics.

PHI 130 Environmental Ethics

This course introduces students to moral concepts that will help them understand humanity's relationship with the natural world. The first part of the course considers the extent to which traditional moral concepts can be extended to non-human aspects of the world. Later, students will explore more non-traditional approaches to the issue, including biocentrism, ecocentrism, ecofeminism and Native American perspectives. Students will also have the opportunity to apply theoretical tools to an examination of some practical issues surrounding the environment and sustainability, such as global climate change, overpopulation and pollution.

POS 260 New York State Environmental Regulation

This course surveys environmental regulatory management in New York state. Included are historical efforts, present procedures, and some developing trends. The primary focus of the course is on programs of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition to NYS DEC programs, the course will examine agencies' regulatory jurisdictions at the federal, state, and local levels. Various local approvals will also be considered. The emphasis will be on the inter-relationship of programs, as well as the specific details of the NYS DEC programs themselves.

SOC 230 Environmental Sociology

Environmental sociology examines the interrelationships between society and the natural environment. This course is designed to provide an overview of environmental problems, to examine the underlying social causes and consequences of environmental change, and to critically evaluate these using the dominant theories in the field. Broadly, this course will consider the impacts of population, consumption, production, and development on the environment. In addition, it will consider the cultural understanding of environmental concern, environmental domination and risk. Finally, the course will consider how to apply the ideas of environmental sociology to develop solutions to social and environmental problems.

SUS 101 Introduction to Sustainability

This course introduces students to a wide variety of Earth Systems concepts and provides sufficient background knowledge so that students can interpret and intelligently discuss sustainability issues. Students will explore how today's human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation, and resource limitations. Key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice include permaculture, population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.