has high expectations and specific interests. Their concern for the earth and its humanity is driving the explosive growth in the study of sustainability and renewable energy sources. As educators it is our responsibility to tap this enthusiasm by offering educational experiences beyond the classroom – from the research lab to digging wells that provide clean water and improved sanitary conditions for an African village. Armed with hands-on research experiences integrated with an interdisciplinary education, our 21st century graduates enter the engineering profession better prepared to fulfill their career aspirations and make a profound impact on the world.
Fifteen Reasons that the University of South Florida Provides a High Quality Research and Learning Environment for Students who integrate Sustainable Science & Engineering with their education and research.
1. The location of the University of South Florida (Tampa) provides the perfect setting that mimics global drivers that are impacting our ability to meet the needs of future generation. The demographics of South Florida are the future demographics of the U.S. in terms of gender, race, and income. In addition, USF’s geographical location and complexities of issues such as expanding population, climate change, water scarcity, renewable energy, coastal management, loss of biodiversity, land use, and a diverse economy make the setting real and applicable to solving complex global problems of this century.
2. The University of South Florida received over $380 million of research funding last year. USF is rated as one the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is also one of Florida’s top three research universities.
3. USF is ranked in the top 20 of US News and World Report list of “up and coming universities,” and is on the list of the “best colleges” as ranked by the Princeton Review.
4. USF’s President, Dr. Judy Genshaft, has signed the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment. This means that USF is now committed to neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions and to accelerating research and educational efforts to equip society with the information and tools to re-stabilize the earth’s climate. A campus sustainability committee that you can be involved in is working on campus issues of climate mitigation, green buildings, green purchasing, water, biodiversity, and transportation. The USF Office of Sustainability coordinates efforts to green the campus.
5. Goal #3 of the USF Strategic Plan specifically addresses “Expanding local and global engagement initiatives to strengthen and sustain healthy communities and to improve the quality of life.” This supports an interdisciplinary research environment that allows students to integrate technological solutions with a health and human dimension that will truly create solutions for a sustainable future.
6. The USF School of Global Sustainability vision of sustainability rests on the concepts of environmental justice, social equity and economic viability, known as the "three pillars" of sustainability. Their definition of sustainability reflects what the UN and the World Wildlife Fund suggest as the process of improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems. They use the definition where human, societal, environmental, material, and economic activities are fundamentally integrated dimensions that are mutually reinforcing.
7. USF has many top-notch and well-funded research centers that work on issues of sustainability. These include:
1) Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
2) Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) and the
3) Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions, a new campus building that is LEED certified.
8. USF faculty members have written books related to sustainability that are geared towards, Solar and Renewable Energy, Green Engineering & Sustainability, and Sustainable Development with a Developing World Context.
9. USF has faculty members who pioneered engineering education and research on issues such as: sustainable water resources and infrastructure, solar and other renewable energy, environmentally conscious manufacturing, international sustainable development related to water and sanitation, and health, and energy efficiency with regards to Internet use and architecture.
10. USF has a multitude of student lead professional organizations that work in the field of sustainability. These groups include but are not limited to: Engineers without Borders (EWB-USA), Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), Students for the Marketing and Advancement of Renewable Technologies (SMART), Emerging Green Builders (EGB), and American Water Works Association (AWWA). These groups work on projects ranging from campus sustainability initiatives, awareness, and research to projects involving sustainability in developing countries.
11. Much of USF’s faculty is committed to sustainability in their research and the coursework that they teach. There are many opportunities to work with these faculty members and learn from them in classes. See the coursework and research section of this website.
12. USF‘s faculty and students take courses and perform research around the world, allowing students to truly develop global solutions to the world’s many sustainability problems. The Patel Center for Global Solutions and Graduate initiatives allow a student to receive graduate certificates in Water, Health, & Sustainability and Humanitarian Assistance. Partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps and other agencies allows engineering, science, and public health students to combine education, service, and research in a developing world setting.
13. Since 2002 the university’s shuttle bus has run on biodiesel and USF students are able to ride for free on the Tampa public bus system (HARTLINE). Bike lanes are present on campus and on campus or in town, there are demonstration projects related to LEED buildings, low impact stormwater management, and renewable energy.
14. The USF Botanical Gardens has natural areas that include: orchids, begonias, mallows, bromeliads, gingers, ferns, aroids, fruit trees, palms, cycads, carnivorous plants, butterfly garden, herb and scent gardens, and much more. The Gardens maintain a living collection of over 3,000 taxa of plants and natural habitats that emphasize the rich botanical diversity of our area. Throughout the Gardens, visitors will find many animal and insect species, from gopher tortoises to butterflies to over 60 species of birds. USF also has on campus demonstration projects for solar power generation, stormwater management, a biodiesel powered shuttle bus, and their first LEED certified building.
15. Florida has a rich biodiversity. The state has more than 4,000 native and exotic plant species (approximately 8% of Florida’s native plants are endemic, found only in Florida). Florida has approximately 668 species of native terrestrial and freshwater vertebrates, 17% are endemic.