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BC Launches Environmental Studies Major

By Tyler Cande ꞌ09

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that BCEEAN relays the news that BC has established an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major through the College of Arts and Sciences.

“The creation of this major gives students interested in the environment three degree options: a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geoscience (in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department), and a minor in Environmental Studies,” writes Professor Noah Snyder, Director of BC’s Environmental Studies Program, in an e-mail announcement.

Newly minted BC undergrads will be facing a very different world from just a short time ago – one where the TAKE-MAKE-WASTE business model of previous generations will be revolutionized by the integration of sustainability into the very core of business operations and strategy.  This IS the management challenge of the 21st century.  Students facing this problem can now be part of a growing profession that will allow them to contribute to companies’ bottom line while helping conserve resources and protect the environment.

If rhetoric is not enough, we should look at the numbers.  GreenBiz’s “State of the Profession 2013” is a yearly examination of corporate sustainability careers.  It is important to note that this does not include consultants or sustainability companies, but, instead, the most powerful and largest companies in the world.  After examining 283 companies, 67 said they had full time sustainability managers in 2005.  In 2012, 283 respondents proudly touted full time sustainability staff.

Furthermore, 47% of manager-level sustainability professionals have been in their role for three years.  A separate, but related, study by EcoCanda said to expect growth in jobs as 84% of sustainability consulting firms and 46% of other sustainability employers plan to increase their staff in the next three to five years. Finally, 18% of managers, 22% of directors, and 9% of vice presidents who hold full time sustainability leadership roles said their declared major was environmental studies.

BC strives to empower its students through a well-rounded curriculum and ambitions to “set the world aflame.”  The Environmental Studies major exemplifies these attributes by promising to be a truly interdisciplinary education aimed at providing students with:

  1. The knowledge and perspective to cultivate rewarding lives as responsible citizens of the planet;
  2. A deep understanding of the scientific, political, and cultural aspects of the world's environmental challenges;
  3. The tools and creativity necessary to envision and implement paths to sustainable solutions; and
  4. A solid background for environmentally-related graduate programs and/or careers in business, education, law, policy, planning, government, or research.

Each of these curriculum goals will provide the building blocks for students to internalize the key tenets of sustainability and be prepared to solve problems that will engrain these principals in the way businesses operate while leading others to do the same.

As with other BC interdisciplinary programs, interested students will apply for admission to the program. The first 15-student cohort of Environmental Studies majors will be open to members of the Class of 2017.

For more information, please visit BC’s Environmental Studies Program website.

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