Environmental studies minor changed to sustainability minor

By Andrea Matson
Contributing Reporter

If you look for the environmen¬tal studies minor in the 2013-2014 course catalog, it won’t be there. Instead students will find environ¬mental science and sustainability listed under the available minors students can enroll in.
The current course catalog de¬scribes the environmental stud¬ies minor as “designed to help students appreciate the diversity and complexity of current environ¬mental issues” and is intended for students of any major. The envi-ronmental studies minor is inter¬disciplinary and offers courses not only in sciences such as biology and chemistry but classes in literature, philosophy and religion. Students are required to take at least two courses from the social sciences or humanities.
Come fall this will all change. Instead of an environmental studies minor to choose there will be an environmental science minor. This new minor will be different than its predecessor said Christopher Iremonger, professor of natural sciences and head of environmen¬tal studies. The minor “is based in biology [and] will not be interdisci¬plinary.”
The environmental science minor will be offered to complement those science majors which also require a minor and will add an additional six to nine credits outside of what is required for students’ majors.
The lack of interdisciplinary courses offered could pose prob¬lems for non-science based majors because courses like English 204, Environmental Literature, or Phi¬losophy 302, Environmental Ethics, will not count toward the minor.
Iremonger said “it wouldn’t be easy, but do-able, for non-science majors to minor in environmental science.” He noted that education majors would more easily take up the new minor because they typically take more general science education courses, but it would be difficult for most students.
Students who want an environ¬mental studies minor still have op¬tions. The minor is not completely disappearing, stated Iremonger, but “morphing into the sustainability’s minor.”
The reason behind the change is that the administration wanted to add a minor to accompany the sustainability major. However, the sustainability minor overlapped the environmental studies minor in so many ways that it was decided to eliminate the environmental studies minor and just have the sustainabil¬ity minor.
Whereas the environmental sci¬ence minor will be for mostly sci¬ence majors thesustainability minor will be for students of any major. Sister Lucy Slinger, FSPA, professor and Sustainability Degree Coordi¬nator, said that the sustainability minor “provides students with a set of unique credentials for the job market, [because] every field is looking for people with experience in sustainability.”
Students will notice some differ¬ences between the minors. The sus¬tainability minor has a broader em¬phasis and doesn’t focus as much on science. Also, the environmental studies minor has a requirement of 20-25 credits where the sustainabil¬ity minor has a requirement of 15.
Sister Lucy explained that the Sustainability minor looks beyond just “natural resources but works with people and resources to pro¬mote a sustainable future.”
However, there are also many courses that do overlap. Courses such as American Environmental History, Environmental Spiritual¬ity, and others count towards both minors.
Students currently in the envi¬ronmental studies minor will not be affected by the addition of the sustainability minor or the environ¬mental science minor. According to Iremonger the only change students may experience is that ENVS 400, Seminar on the Environment, will no longer be offered.
The course was originally de¬signed as a three hour block once a week, but students had difficulty fitting it into their schedules. Start¬ing in the fall, students will take ENVS 325, Environmental Sustain¬ability as a replacement course.

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