BAKE 302/303: Understanding Environmental Systems
An inderdisciplinary perspective

Flow diagram showing hypothetical material and energy inputs and outputs for the Rice University campus

Course Description

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BAKE 302* - a 3-hour lecture/seminar/workshop style course concerning human interactions with the environment and how to reduce adverse human impacts on the environment. Students will complete two major project assignments focused on [1] understanding the Rice University campus as an environmental system and [2] the environmental design of a hypothetical Ninth College. These projects will provide experience in environmental research, interdisciplinary teamwork, report preparation, and public presentation. This course is sponsored by Baker and Lovett Colleges and is directed by Arthur Few, Professor of Space Physics and Environmental Science and Master of Baker College, and Bill Leeman, Professor of Geology and Geophysics and Master of Lovett College. Other faculty involved are listed below. The course will meet twice a week, MF 1-2:30 PM. Check the course webpage for future updates. A related parallel course, ENVI 490, organized by Mike Ford, is concerned with specific aspects of a campus environmental audit. Students enrolled in both courses are encouraged to interact closely in evaluating the impacts we have on our environment and in developing concepts that may minimize the negative impacts.

BAKE 303 - a one-hour laboratory course for students enrolled in BAKE 302. This intensive Spring break field trip to Biosphere 2 (near Tucson, Arizona) will enable students to study the principles and design features of a closed, engineered system built to simulate the Earth system.
Biosphere 2 is operated by Columbia University and it is anticipated that some of their faculty will participate with our group in on-site education. College course funds will cover costs of transportation and expenses incurred at Biosphere 2 (with exception of meals and personal expenses in transit).

There are three major components to BAKE 302/303:

  1. Understanding the Rice University Campus as an environmental system;
  2. Understanding the theory and practical aspects of environmental systems; and
  3. Designing environmentally friendly systems.

In each of the three components we will study three dimensions: the human dimension, the natural environmental dimension, and the human-engineered dimension. For more detail, see our preliminary syllabus.

Also, you may find the following Global Citizen article of interest: " A Building Can be a Teacher."

Rice Faculty Involvement:

*Please note: This course is listed as Bake 200 in the Courses Offered Schedule; we have requested a change in designation as well as distribution Group 3 credit. Watch our web site for the latest information on the course designation.

-----LAST MODIFIED: 12/1/97
-----BY: Bill Leeman

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