|Submission Date||Dec. 14, 2017|
|10.30 / 12.00|
The Department of Environmental Studies (ENVS) at St. Lawrence leads the institution in encouraging students to engage in sustainability-related research. St. Lawrence has the distinction of having one of the oldest interdisciplinary environmental studies programs in the United States, dating back some four decades. Our core commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and inquiry has flourished over the years, leading to the creation of ten ENVS combined majors, which enable ENVS students to integrate substantial efforts in traditional disciplines with environmental studies. These majors were designed for students who wish to acquire expertise in another department while still benefiting from the integrative approaches of environmental studies. Five ENVS options are available with natural science departments (biology, chemistry, geology, psychology, and math), along with five additional options in the social sciences and the humanities (economics, English, government, philosophy, and sociology). ENVS has consistently attracted significant numbers of students, with course enrollments averaging 586 annually over the last five years, and ENVS and combined majors ranking among the ten majors during the same period. In the tradition of St. Lawrence teacher-scholars, ENVS faculty have actively involved students in their research endeavors. These include Associate Professor/Department Chair Jon Rosales’ research on the effects of climate change in Alaska; Assistant Professor David Murphy’s research on the intersection of energy, the environment, and economics; Assistant Professor Sara Ashpole’s study of cumulative impacts to amphibian, reptile, and turtle populations in the Great Lakes and the South Okanagan Valley, British Columbia; and Assistant Professor Peter Pettingill’s research on park and public land planning and management.
The St. Lawrence ENVS Department operates the Ecological Sustainability Landscape (ESL), a tract of land located several miles from our main campus on 110 acres, including forests, wetlands, and streams complete with a three-story house and outbuildings. Many courses within the ENVS department use the ESL property as a living laboratory, including Sustainable Agriculture, Renewable Energy, and Global Amphibian Decline. The facility gives students opportunities to experiment with building materials and energy efficient technologies. Past student research projects have resulted in the installation of a super energy-efficient demonstration window, new energy conserving lighting, solar panels, and a nano-wind turbine.
St. Lawrence’s Sustainability Program, led by Associate Professor of Performance and Communication Arts (PCA) Dr. Jessica Prody, is also playing a key role in encouraging students to pursue research on sustainability issues. During the semester, students live on a farm site located approximately four miles from campus and take a full academic roster of courses designed to explore issues of sustainability from multiple perspectives. These courses are taught by faculty members from the Departments of Biology, Environmental Studies, PCA, and Sociology, who use project-based teaching methods to guide students in identifying sustainability problems, evaluating solutions, and working with communities to implement those solutions. Participating students are eligible to participate in summer internships in a wide range of sustainability fields, many of which include opportunities to engage in research.
The St. Lawrence Center for International and Intercultural Studies (CIIS) provides students with funding to conduct research projects abroad, including projects focused on sustainability studies. In addition, student can enroll in courses addressing a wide range of sustainability topics through CIIS including:
• India: Ecology, Environmental Studies, Sustainable agriculture
• Australia: Eco-System, Environmental Studies
• Denmark: Sustainability
• Kenya: Eco-System, Environmental Studies, Sustainability
• New Zealand: Eco-System, Environmental Studies
• Costa Rica: Eco-Tourism, Environmental Studies, Human Ecology
• Thailand: Mekong fisheries
St. Lawrence University offers several long-standing institutional programs that support intensive student research during the summer months, including students interested in sustainability. The “University Fellows” program, established in 1999, supports 35-50 students each summer, who spend 8-10 weeks conducting in-depth independent research with a faculty mentor. The Tanner Fellowships program is intended to encourage students to enlarge their capacities to make a positive and creative mark on the world by enabling them to design and pursue educational experiences not otherwise available to them. Many Tanner Fellows choose to conduct their projects off-campus.
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