Waste and Want: The Psychology and Business of Consumption

Fall and Winter quarters
Faculty: Cynthia Kennedy, Sonja Wiedenhaupt
Enrollment: 46
Class Standing: This is a Core program designed for freshmen students.
Special Expenses: Approximately $125
for one overnight field trip per quarter. Fees are due during the first week of class each quarter.

          Mmmm. Mmmm. Yeah! Boy was that good! Need a refill? Ever wonder what went into that 15 minutes of morning satisfaction? "I drink two cups a day. At that rate, I'll down 34 gallons of java this year, made from 18 pounds of beans. Colombian farms have 12 coffee trees growing to support my personal addiction. Farmers will apply 11 pounds of fertilizers and a few ounces of pesticides to the trees this year. And Colombia's rivers will swell with 43 pounds of coffee pulp stripped from my beans . . ." (Stuff: The Secret Life of Everyday Things, Ryan & Durning, 1997). Then there is the labor, the transportation, the water, the electricity, the cup, the sugar, the cream and, of course, all the resources that are involved in producing and caring for each of these items in turn. Is one dollar the right price for all that goes into that cup of coffee (and its refill)? And what, for that matter, are the social and environmental impacts of engaging in this daily ritual?
          In this program we will address these issues through the lenses of business, psychology and environmental science to study both the upsides and the downsides of today's fast-paced, consumer society. We will also ponder how cultural and historical contexts have shaped our habits of consumption.
          Case studies, student research and community service projects will provide a context for exploring the program's questions. Throughout the program we will develop a set of skills including: library research, information technology, quantitative reasoning, oral and written communication, leadership and group dynamics.

Beginning the Journey is a 2-credit component of this 16-credit program. It will introduce students to the tools, practical skills and connections needed to do college-level work, and increase their likelihood for success, well-being and persistence at Evergreen. The planned activities will enhance students in four key areas: (1) academic skills, (2) support services awareness, (3) life skills, and (4) community connectedness. The program will begin Orientation Week, and continue through the first five weeks of the Fall Quarter, with follow-up weekly workshops in the four areas listed above. Students will be required to participate in selected Orientation Week activities and events, and attend all subsequent workshops and activities to earn the allotted 2 credits within the program. More information about Beginning the Journey.

Credit awarded in: economics, environmental science, psychology, statistics, leadership and writing.
Total: 16 credits each quarter.
Program is preparatory for: careers and future studies in environmental studies, psychology, public policy, business and waste management