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New Environmental Studies Program at Saint Michael's
By Dr. Buff Lindau,
Director of Marketing & Communications

The Saint Michael's College Board of Trustees voted unanimous approval at their spring 2010 meeting for a new Environmental Studies program to begin this fall.

The program focuses on the environment from the perspective of the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Students will select one of those areas and develop a major, fulfilling specific requirements, including a self-designed concentration carried out through a research project.

Students may also minor in Environmental Studies.

  Saint Michael's students on the Tropical Ecology Study Tour in Costa Rica

"The program encourages students to build on the holistic framework to shape their own investigations into pressing domestic and global environmental problems, to appreciate the natural world, and to gain insights into the creation of a more sustainable world," said Dr. Valerie Banschbach, program coordinator and Professor of Biology.

Professors in the environmental studies working group are:
Dr. Valerie S. Banschbach, professor and chair of Biology
Dr. Nathaniel Lewis, professor of English
Greg Delanty, poet-in-residence and associate professor of English
Dr. Jeffrey Ayres, professor and chair of Political science
Dr. Richard Kujawa, professor of geography
Dr. Bret Findley, associate professor of chemistry

All students in the program will take introduction to environmental studies, environmental problems and the senior seminar; each student will also select breadth courses in natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, such courses as general biology, ecology and evolution; general chemistry; meteorology; human geography; foundations of global studies; feature writing on nature outdoors; population analysis; politics of food; environmental ethics; philosophy of science, technology and environment; introduction to environmental humanities.

Possible concentrations
For the major, students will work with faculty advisors to develop a concentration on a topic related to environment that is of interest to the student.  Some examples include water; American environmental attitudes; describing nature; human population and environment; food and its impacts on the environment.

Additional Opportunities in Environmental Studies
The program is designed to engage students in environmental issues through a variety opportunities in and outside the classroom, through service learning projects, field and lab research, and internships. Additionally, students may engage in study abroad ecology courses, internships at such places as Shelburne Farms, the Intervale, the Echo Center, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and elsewhere. Environmental Studies students will also be able to work on campus in such sustainability projects as the Saint Michael's organic community garden; GreenUp student environmental club; the faculty, staff and student activist Environmental Council, and through leadership projects of the renowned Saint Michael's Wilderness Program.




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