According to the Harvard Crimson, the University of Iowa is trying to get students into Friday classes. Iowa is apparently doing it in an effort to curb “Thirsty Thursday” drinking.
A better logic, from my perspective, is the one Keene State is trying out. They say they’re aiming for better utilization of campus resources, combined with reducing the cost of college attendance (Keene gives a discount on Friday morning tuitions).
Keeping college affordable is generally good, from a sustainability perspective. But better utilizing academic space is directly beneficial on a number of levels. Poor space utilization during the day means the college is heating empty space (it actually costs more to heat an empty room than one full of people). Better space utilization allows more classes before there’s a need for new construction — construction activity and materials emit lots of CO2, then once you build the new space, you get to heat and light it for decades!
I understand how unpopular Friday classes can be; one semester of my junior year, I actually managed a schedule with classes only on Tuesdays and Thursdays! But more efficient use of campus space is a win-win-win situation. It helps manage emissions, helps keep education costs in check, and — yes — might even help reduce binge drinking.
Got a sustainability question? A sustainability idea? A story about your (or someone else’s) undergraduate class schedule? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.