New Sustainability Minor Announced For Earth Day

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For Earth Day 2021 Dominican University of California staged numerous events and activities and made a big announcement – the addition of a new sustainability studies minor beginning Fall 2021.

“Things are changing and our students are going to need to deal with the challenges of not only sustainability but also issues like climate change’’ says Dr. Jacob Massoud, chair of Dominican’s Sustainability Subcommittee. “There are many job opportunities in this area.”

Dominican’s Sustainability Studies minor will be a stand-alone, interdisciplinary minor that equips students with knowledge and skills to better understand and address global sustainability challenges. The minor is grounded in the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social, and economic perspectives with the goal of protecting the environment, supporting communities, and enhancing prosperity. The interdisciplinary nature of the minor also allows students to pursue studies that complement any major or concentration.

The minor will be the Fall 2021 catalogue of classes in all three schools: the School of Health and Natural Science, the School of Liberal Arts and Education, and the Barowsky School of Business.


When preparing for this year’s Earth Day, Massoud, who is Dominican’s MBA Program Director and Associate Professor of Strategic Management, said was pleased with the support he received from faculty and staff, in particular Sister Mary Soher, Director of Campus Ministry, and political sciences major Julia Reinhard ’22. They were anxious to continue the work and vision of retired faculty member John Duvall, who preceded Massoud as chair of the sustainability subcommittee.

Among the Earth Day events the Dominican Sustainability Subcommittee coordinated this month were three “Earth Day Five” virtual discussions, each designed to offer five-minute sessions of quiet, communal reflection honoring the planet.

The first one, hosted by Helena Harris ‘23, Calliope Gallagher ‘23, and Wendy Jara ’22 of the Siena Leadership Team, focused on recycling and composting.

Dr. Nicola Pitchford, Dominican’s President Elect, provided the closing remarks to the second “Earth Day Five” discussion which had a theme of water conservation.

The final “Earth Day Five” on Monday included closing remarks from Dr. Doreen Gurrola, assistant science professor, discussing plastic mitigation. Campus Ministry also hosted “Praise & Worship: Celebrating Earth,” a virtual hour of music and reflection with the Siena Leadership Team and the Chapel Choir via Zoom.


Earth Day activities culminated April 22 with an Earth Day lunch panel discussion featuring representatives from the University, the City of San Rafael, and the County of Marin who will share current actions and upcoming plans focused on sustainability. Joining Massoud on the panel to represent Dominican were John Hashizume, Executive Director of Facilities Services, Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Administrative Coordinator Cindy Harms, and Dr. Obed Hernández-Gómez, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

In addition, Dr. Hernández-Gómez created a Penguin Earth Day Pledge. #PenguinsforEarth

Dominican's Earth Day ended with the movie, “I Am Greta” via Zoom. It was hosted by student organizations Dominican Model United Nations and IGNITE and all members of the Dominican community were welcomed to watch the movie and sign an eco-friendly petition supported by Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU).

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