Welcome to Swarthmore College’s Environmental Studies (ENVS) program. Begun in 1992 due to student demand as a concentration (minor), ENVS expanded to a Tri-College minor in 2012, then added a major in 2016 and an honors major in 2018. Environmental Studies is inherently interdisciplinary, and brings together the humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and the social sciences to tackle environmental issues of great complexity and socio-political importance. In relation to climate change, for instance, natural scientists provide data to understand the scope of the problem and the processes that result in global warming, while social scientists seek to understand and craft policies informed by the social structures and relations of power and the human behaviors that cause climate change. Humanistic scholars, among their other contributions, help provide analyses of the moral, ethical, aesthetic, and historical frameworks shaping human/nature relationships and draw on the power of image and story for understanding right relations and interdependencies between humankind and otherkind. Among the environmental values that our students seek to study are those that relate to people’s relationships with the land, with the natural and built environment, and with each other.
Advancing the Dialogue on Native Nations: Q&A with James FenelonCategory: Faculty Spotlight
Faculty Begin Tenure-Track, Distinguished AppointmentsCategory: Faculty Spotlight
10 Students Selected for President’s Sustainability Research FellowshipCategory: sustainability
Swarthmore Expands Curricular Support for Racial Justice, Equity, and InclusionCategory: Inclusive Community
Re-Chewable Energy: Engineering Capstone Could Turn Food Waste into FuelCategory: sustainability
Environmental Studies at the Lang Center
One of the central goals of the Environmental Studies program is for students to see their own world through others’ eyes in order to understand the human dimension of environmental issues. (Human beings are, after all, part of the environment.) Community- and project-based learning is thus central to the Environmental Studies program.
The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility supports Swarthmore faculty, staff, and students as they engage with “surrounding communities both locally and globally, for mutual benefit and reciprocally enriching relationships.”
This fall, connections between Environmental Studies and the Lang Center will become even closer and more explicit. The Environmental Studies program and the Peace and Conflict Studies program will begin holding office hours on the second floor of the southern half of the Lang Center; several environmental studies classes will be held in the Lang Center, and a variety of co-curricular events will be jointly hosted by the Environmental Studies program and the Lang Center. Stay tuned for more news!
ENVS faculty hold a range of opinions about divestment
Swarthmore’s Environmental Studies faculty, all agreed on the urgent importance of mitigating climate change, nonetheless hold a range of opinions about the efficacy of the divestment movement.