UC Boulder 'eco-feminism' program draws dozens of students

UC-Boulder is one of several colleges that are now tying social justice themes to ecological issues.

The University of Colorado-Boulder is sponsoring an "eco-social justice leadership program" this spring.

The University of Colorado-Boulder is sponsoring an “Eco-Social Justice Leadership Program” this spring where students can gain leadership skills while also learning about topics like “environmental justice” and “eco-feminism.”

The program, sponsored by the Center for Inclusion and Social Change and the Environmental Center at UC-Boulder, will give participants the skills and knowledge to advance efforts in sustainability and social justice. A spokesperson for the university told Campus Reform that the program will accept about 30 to 35 students for the program this spring.

“The purpose of this program is to illuminate the direct correlation of sustainability and social justice work which, in turn, creates an opportunity for student leadership and action surrounding this work on CU campus and beyond,” the website states. “The program will build a community of change agents, explore questions of identity and place, heritage and inheritance, root causes of the global unraveling, and create community solutions.”

Additionally, the students will learn from “practitioners” in the social justice and eco-social justice fields.

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Students who participate in the program will learn more about “the history of Environmental Justice, Sustainable development, Permaculture, Eco-feminism & more,” “explore social identities,” “ learn to make a self-published 'zine & work as a team to develop one,” and they will even earn a “Leadership Certificate.”

While learning about issues in social justice, this non-credit producing program improves students' public speaking and communication skills at the same time, Deborah Méndez Wilson, deputy spokesperson for the University of Colorado-Boulder, said.

“Students will explore team-building concepts, build their public speaking and communication skills, delve into sustainability issues and examine their impacts on humanity, and engage in discussions about how they can bridge differences in their communities to create greater understanding and effect positive social change,” Wilson said. “These are skills that will serve our students well while they are in college and after they graduate and enter the workforce.”

Colorado State University, however, is taking eco-social justice a step further and is paying students to be “eco leaders,” “raise awareness about sustainability issues," as well as advocate for various social justice issues on campus, as reported by Campus Reform.

The “Eco-Social Justice Leadership Program” is part of a growing number of ways in which colleges and universities are incorporating social justice into ecological issues.

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For instance, Campus Reform reported that the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth is offering an online “ecofeminism” course in which students study topics like “ecofeminism,” “ecofeminist practices,” “ecofeminist theory,” “Vegetarian Ecofeminism,” and more.

A professor from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland wrote an academic article titled “Hello eco-camp: Queer environmentalism in the Anthropocene,” which explored how to engage more people in environmentalism, explaining how “ecosexualism” can be beneficial, as Campus Reform also reported.

Editor's note: Because of an editing error, a previous version of this article included a quote from UC Boulder spokeswoman Deborah Méndez Wilson. It was a paraphrased statement, not a direct quote. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10