Campus Sustainability and Social Sciences
Transitions toward sustainable development, whether on higher education (HE) campuses or beyond, cannot be achieved without social innovations. Because of the social sciences' focus on human behavior and interactions, they are uniquely positioned to provide insights into the social innovations that are so urgently needed. And yet, the use of the social science theories, perspectives, and empirical findings to support sustainable development has been limited, including on HE campuses. The majority of HE sustainable development programs are based on intuition or experience and few are evaluated to determine if they are meeting their objectives. The lack of use of the social sciences to help meet campus sustainable development goals is particularly paradoxical because universities and colleges conduct the majority of social science research, prepare the next generation of sustainability leaders and entrepreneurs, and nurture the formation of new life habits that students will carry forward with them. Thus, HE institutions not only have the expertise and resources, but also have a responsibility to model how the social sciences can be drawn on to transition campuses to sustainability. This e-book demonstrates the potential the social sciences have for advancing sustainable development on HE campuses and beyond. We hope that this collection will inspire campus sustainable development leaders to increase their social science uptake and catalyze additional efforts to realize this vision.
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