Santa Clara University


The Penstemon Project

The mission: promote sustainability across the curriculum. The method: bringing on board faculty from disciplines as diverse as business and mathematics, civil engineering and religious studies—not to mention biology. Meet the Penstemon Project.

The project kicks off this June, with five Santa Clara faculty members from the Environmental Studies Institute (ESI) and other departments helping to conduct two days of workshops for 20 SCU faculty interested in developing new courses, revising current courses, or incorporating issues related to sustainability.

The trainers leading the way at SCU are Sherry Booth, senior lecturer in English and co-director of the Cypress RLC; John Farnsworth, lecturer in English and ESI and co-director of Cypress; Dennis Gordon, professor of political science and executive director of international programs at SCU; Leslie Gray, associate professor of political science and ESI—and fresh off a Fulbright in Burkina Faso; and Virginia Matzek, director of campus and community programs for ESI.

The Penstemon Project—which takes its name from a wildflower—is an outgrowth of similar projects around the nation under the aegis of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

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