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Hanley Sustainability Institute

Sinclair transfer picked UD's 'multi-dimensional' sustainability major

By Mark Gokavi

Mark Ryan hasn’t totally decided on which sustainability track he will take, but he chose the major because he said it’s his way to make the world better.

“I think sustainability is the best path for me to take because it focuses on so many different aspects of society so I get to learn about how different parts of society interact and how I can help improve them,” said Ryan, a sophomore at the University of Dayton after transferring from Sinclair Community College. “It focuses on the integration of environmental, economic and societal factors that interact with each other to make up society.”

Ryan was exploring biology or environmental science when he decided to attend UD, but switched when the sustainability major was announced. The Centerville native said he’s leaning toward the bachelor’s degree track in food systems.

“I think incoming students should know just how multi-dimensional this major is, because it covers such a wide range of topics that can be applicable to any career beyond college,” Ryan said. “Since the sustainability major just came out I was thrilled to be a part of it because I thought that was the best way to make a difference in the world.”

Ryan's classes may have changed to an online format because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his first semester has whetted his appetite for knowledge.

“I’ve learned a lot about what problems exist when it comes to the environment and society on a global level and can’t wait to learn more,” said Ryan, who is with the Hanley Sustainability Institute’s composting team and also planned to work with the Mission of Mary gardening team with the idea of possibly becoming an urban farmer. “I don’t know what kind of job I want after college, but as long as I have a job where I’m doing something positive for the world and making a difference then I will be happy.”

Ryan was in a career technology class about environmental science and spent 2.5 years at Sinclair while earning an associate’s degree in science. He said all his credits transferred.

“I chose UD because of a combination of a few things: it was local, I heard great things about it, and of course, they just came out with the sustainability major,” Ryan said. “This major is exactly what I was looking to study and the fact it was announced the same semester I transferred was great timing.”

Ryan also suggested a sustainability class would benefit non-majors in a world proven to be as interconnected as ever. “Anyone interested in UD or currently taking classes at UD should definitely consider taking a class in sustainability,” he said. “Because they cover very interesting and relatable topics that can apply to any field of interest.”

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the Sustainability Program website.