FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- How does a military installation achieve its mission without having an adverse impact on the environment?

That's a question at the heart of a new Sustainability Management and Leadership program being launched by Fort Jackson and the University of South Carolina. The course is an offshoot of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by post and university officials in April. The two institutions have had a longstanding, unofficial partnership that was formalized as a means to explore how the installation and university could fully benefit each other.

"We're already working together, learning about management systems," said Tameria Warren, Sustainability Management System coordinator for Fort Jackson, one of the course's instructors. "We figured, in order to work off this memorandum, that we'd start an additional partnership to teach about management systems, sustainability, how leadership plays a role in these things."

The Sustainability Management and Leadership course is focused on teaching integrated management system principles. Students learn to develop and coordinate a sustainability management system, as well as the skills needed to use analytical tools to measure sustainability performance in making the best decisions to lead the organization to meet its goals.

The classes will take advantage of the university's partnership with Fort Jackson to use the installation as a case study, and to consider the military's overall role in sustainability.

"It's geared toward Soldiers, civilians and regular students in the USC community," Warren said. "Right now, we've got 12 people registered. They may or may not be Soldiers, but they are the focus. Fort Jackson has its own sustainability management system, but every installation has a similar program. We wanted to educate Soldiers and let them know this is something they're going to encounter whether you're at Fort Jackson or Fort Bragg, or even if you're overseas."

The class is taught online and in class meetings at designated times during the semester.

Three classroom meetings will be scheduled by the instructor and will include guest speakers from Fort Jackson and the University of South Carolina. Speakers will present an area of sustainable development that will be compared to sustainable development practices at Fort Jackson and at other military installations.

Warren said the classes are designed to help Soldiers considering career changes after leaving the military, as well as for Soldiers looking for new job duties while still serving. Despite the technical language associated with the program, the issues it covers are universal in the military.

Students may take this course for three or four credits. Students taking the course for four credits must complete, in addition to all assignments associated with three credits, a sustainability lab assignment. The sustainability lab will be a minimum of 15 contact hours in partnership with a Fort Jackson unit/tenant/contractor implementing sustainability practices and connected with Fort Jackson's Sustainability Management System.

Classes begin Jan. 16 and will last throughout the semester. Courses are expected to continue at USC in the fall and could open later to include Soldiers from other installations.

"Each installation has to address these issues in some manner," Warren said. "We're hoping that, as the program grows, we're going to bring in more installations."