"Because everyone comes to the program from different backgrounds, the classes have a much wider view of environmental issues than might occur within a single academic department. Environmental studies at Swarthmore is a home for all of us who want to use our education to address the environmental concerns that will become urgent within our lifetimes."
Kristin Leitzel '07
Economics and Political Science double major
Profound anthropogenic changes are occurring in the land, water, and air around us, and education needs to respond to these changes. Swarthmore's heritage of social concern compels us to educate students so that they are well informed about vital, current issues and capable of full political participation.
The College has a responsibility to provide means for the study of environmental problems and to encourage students to develop their own perspectives on these problems. The Interdisciplinary Program in Environmental Studies is one way the College meets these responsibilities.
Environmental studies is truly interdisciplinary and offers numerous opportunities for rigorous interdisciplinary work because environmental issues have scientific, engineering, social, political, economic, literary, and philosophical dimensions that must be addressed. Therefore, our program is structured as an interdisciplinary minor.
This program helps guide students to the many academic fields that afford a perspective on environmental problems and enables them to explore questions most compelling to them from the vantage point of various disciplines in the natural and social sciences, engineering, and the humanities.