Campus Sustainability Office

Sense of Place

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Sense of place refers to the connection one has with a geographic space (sometimes moreso the unique elements of it than the space itself). It is a sense of connection and caring for ones community and environment. Participation in the community and experiences within the environment serve to reinforce and deepen the connection.

Those who do not know there surroundings, their watershed, environment, the animals, their habitat, the resources of an area, their neighbors, as well as the problems and issues facing those systems, and many other factors that make a place what it is, cannot protect them, and therefore cannot expect the community as a whole to function in a sustainable manner. The limiting factor here for sustainability is the notion that one cannot protect what one doesn't understand and care for.

That recognition will quickly lead one to the conclusion that we are all one people, striving for similar lives, and that we need to work together to strengthen and embolden our positive attributes, while eschewing our natural competitive and ostensible traits that divide us and keep us fighting amongst ourselves in a negative and cyclical cycle.

 In order to develop a critically thinking, skeptical, and civically engaged populous we must learn a sense of place. Third places, those places whereby people can freely gather to socialize and discuss topics in a free and safe environment, outside of the home and work environment, are critical to developing a sense of place. If there are not places for people to gather, share, and communicate in a free form and unregulated manner, then it becomes excessively difficult for individuals and communities to follow a path of sustainability because they pervades a sense of disconnection and separateness.

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