"Universities need to integrate sustainable development into the curriculum exactly the way Lehigh is doing with its undergraduate program.

-Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
Director of The Earth Institute
Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Columbia University
Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Student Opportunities

* LaunchBayC Application at Mountaintop

LaunchBayC  Student Accelerator (June 2 - August 15, 2014) -   Focusing on very early phase student startups, LaunchBayC will provide coworking space, product development/maker space, a full time young entrepreneur in residence who will offer venture development programming, and orchestrate mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs. The pilot will involve up to eight participants working on projects developing ideas, designing and prototyping products, and developing and field testing sustainable business models.

Students will spend ~10 weeks during summer 2014, occupying garage-like space in Building C on the Mountaintop Campus, full time. LaunchBayC will focus on the creativity, ideation, design, prototyping, and feasibility components of the accelerator process and will include projects from students considering launching firms, but before they have launched.  Those accepted will receive a startup stipend up to $4500 and access to small pool of prototyping funds.  The summer accelerator project teams will meet with a "Board of Directors" on a regular basis that will provide the opportunity to get feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and investors. 

Eligibility:Open to full-time Lehigh University students in degree-seeking programs AND on a case-by-case basis, those students graduating in May.  In addition, students (1) must be in good academic standing, and (2) may not be on disciplinary probation at the time of application. Please email inentin@lehigh.edu

* Apply to become a SOCAP Social Entrepreneur

PAID Summer Internships 2014 - "sDev Lab"
Application Submissions are closed for this year.

* Technion-Israel Institute of Technology - China Summer 2014
Engineering for Developing Communities

* Lehigh Global Opportunities Travel Grants


“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (the Brundtland Commission)

While the definition above is the most commonly quoted response, Sustainable Development can be more succinctly summed up in the following four words: inclusive and sustainable growth.

Development is the noun; sustainable is the adjective.

But what does it mean to develop sustainably?  Most people associate sustainability with the environment, but this is actually just one of three pillars to sustainability. Indeed, to be truly sustainable, not only must ecological protection be ensured, but also economic well-being must ensure that humans are able to meet their own needs, and social inclusion must ensure that this well-being extends to all in an equitable manner.

Lehigh University Sustainable Development Program - SDEV

So, according to this definition, how are we doing? Well, if you look at economic growth as accounted for by GDP per capita over the years, you might at first glance be encouraged. Billions have moved out of material poverty in a matter of generations, with access to longer, healthier lives and things that would have been unimaginable just decades ago. Yet too many humans are still unable to meet their basic needs, a first indicator that economic development to date has not occurred in a sustainable manner.  Moreover, even this limited economic growth has come at a high cost to the natural environment, calling into question yet again the sustainability of our development to date. 

By the year 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9 billion persons.  The challenge of sustainable development is how to proceed in such a way that each of these 9 billion persons can enjoy a dignified quality of life in an equitable way that does not compromise our natural surroundings. 

Indeed, this task is as complex as it is urgent, which is why we choose to focus our attention on it here at Lehigh University through the Sustainable Development Program.

Mark Orrs
Director and Professor of Practice in Sustainable Development


Mark Orrs
Director and Professor of Practice
Sustainable Development ProgramLehigh University
1 West Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015-3001

The Office of Interdisciplinary Programs
Maginnes Hall, Room 490

Read more about Sustainable Development in the College of Arts & Sciences, acumen, Spring 2013. Click here...

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