Having created the masters in Sustainability program at UMass Amherst, Craig shows us how his family keeps to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
My wife and I first moved here in the late 1990s. And it was meant to be just a short-term, two-year gig. And over the 15 years as it's become home, I can see ways in which we've adjusted more, and taken on more of the culture of the area. Part of it is when six of your closest friends all have backyard chickens. You think, I should have backyard chickens. I'd like fresh eggs as well. My name is Craig Nicholson. And I'm a professor of sustainability science here at UMass Amherst. Two of the really interesting things about sustainability is that it's a new field. And so it's sort of being created on the fly, in a sense. One of the ideas that came up was to have fifth-year master's programs. So if you could take the best and brightest students from our four-year undergrad programs, and they could stay on for an extra year. And in an accelerated way they could do a fifth year and earn a master's degree. And this seemed like a neat idea to me. And I went to the dean and I said, "How about we do a program in sustainability science?" Within two years, we had our program approved. The first students were here, and now they're out in the workforce. When I see young students involved in these activities with us, who are helping transform the food system here at UMass, who are in the dorms teaching their peers about sustainability issues through the Eco-Rep program that we have, I can see why they would want to stay on. One of the things about sustainability is that it draws together people who all have these personal passions about it. We're in a common cause. Everyone sees the big problem out there. We want to move together and do something about it. I'm Craig Nicolson. I teach in the Department of Environmental Conservation. I stand for developing leaders. And I stand for UMass.