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January 6, 2012

Environmental Studies Major Publishes Research Report

Research by Wheaton College senior Curtis Witek was recently published in “Green Awakenings: Digging Deeper,” a publication of Renewal, a Christ-centered creation care network of college students.

The Green Awakenings report identifies assets and barriers to creation care on Christian college campuses. Witek designed the study and served as a research manager. Along with other students affiliated with Renewal, he researched creation care initiatives at more than 60 Christian colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada for the 10-month research project.

The report identified assets to creation care, which include active support of key faculty members, staff members who offer expertise, support from members of the administration, coverage of environmental issues in campus media, and interdepartmental collaboration. It also outlines barriers to creation care and offers ideas for overcoming them.

Additionally, the report includes a Campus Stewardship and Sustainability matrix listing various creation care initiatives at Christian colleges.

Witek hopes the report will serve as a resource for students who want their campuses to move toward better stewardship of the environment. “The final report is not a blueprint or a roadmap for starting a new initiative,” Witek says. “It is a launching point for better questions and more nuanced strategies.”

With the report, Witek says, “students, faculty members, staff and administrators can be better equipped to identify which assets they can mobilize at their schools, where they need to build capacity, and how to anticipate and overcome common barriers.”

Witek, an environmental studies major, currently serves as president of A Rocha Wheaton, a student-led Christian conservation group. In addition to his recent work on the Green Awakenings report, Witek co-authored two reports on the Chicago Climate Change Action Plan during an internship with the Environment, Culture, and Conservation Division of the Field Museum in Chicago during the summer of 2010. Last summer, he completed an internship with the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a “think-and-do” tank promoting sustainable living in urban neighborhoods.

The Green Awakenings report is available for download at renewingcreation.org.

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