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Capstone Seminars

The culminating experience of the environmental studies major is the capstone seminar course. Under the direction of a faculty member, students with a variety of majors concentrate on a single, environmental topic. Recent examples include: "Oceans in Peril," "Environmental Justice," and "The Green Campus: Swarthmore and Sustainability." The class members collectively work on a major initiative as part of the course. These projects have led to a sustainability action plan for the College, a map illustrating environmental justice in Delaware County, Pa., and a conference about watershed restoration.

2021: Engaging With This Moment on Earth

Giovanna Di Chiro, Professor of Environmental Studies

Looking Back, Looking Forward - Collective Syllabus Handbook Zine

2020: Introduction to GIS

Nicole wagner,  Visiting Instructor (part-time)

An Investigation of the Spatial Distribution and Relative Quality of San Francisco's Municipal Parks with Respect to Income and Race

The Rise of Green Buildings

Modeling Extreme Storm Events in Pennsylvania

2018: Advancing Environmental Studies

Gustavo Oliveira, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor

Student presentation 

Final Report

2017:  Environmental Communication: Hope and Action

Giovanna Di Chiro, Professor of Environmental Studies

2014:  Environmental Communication

Giovanna Di Chiro (Visiting Lang Professor)


What is Sustainability?  A Collection of Stories on Community and Environment

1)  “Growing Power: Stories of Food from Farm to Table,” Environmental Studies Capstone Journal, Vol. 1 (2014)

2)  Sustainable Cities Prezi

3)  Edible Plants on Swarthmore Campus, Interactive GIS Map

2010: Environmental Justice: Freshwater Resources

Carol Nackenoff (Political Science)

Final Project: Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale

2009: Global Warming

Brownfields Remediation in Delaware County, PAPeter Collings (Physics & Astronomy)

Final Project Report: Brownfields Remediation in Delaware County, PA [pdf]

Interactive Map of Brownfields in Delaware County, PA

2008: New Directions: Campus Sustainability

Mark Wallace (Religion)

Swarthmore students work with Chester's Community Grocery Co-op (from the Daily Gazette)

2007: The Green Campus: Swarthmore and Sustainability

capstone report coverMark Wallace (Religion)

Final Project Report: The Greening of Swarthmore: Sustainability Action Plan [pdf]

2006: GIS and Environmental Justice

report coverCarol Nackenoff (Political Science)

Syllabus [pdf]

Final Project Report: Mapping Environmental Justice in Delaware County [pdf]

2005: Water and Oceans

Larry Westphall (Economics)

2004: Sustainability and the Swarthmore ES Program

Carr Everbach (Engineering)

2003: Land and Water: Restoration and Protection for Environmental Quality

Arthur McGarity (Engineering), Carr Everbach (Engineering) and Jeff Jabco (Director of Grounds, Coordinator of Horticulture)

2002: Problems in Environmental Studies

Michael Spiers (Sociology & Anthropology)

2001: Climate Change and Sustainability

Walter Cressler

2000: Water and Watershed Studies

Arthur McGarity (Engineering)

1999: Environmental Ethics and Sustainability

Hans Oberdiek (Philosophy)

1998: Conflicts in Environmental Studies

Wes Shumar (Education)

Course Syllabus

1997: Forest Ecology

Michael Speirs (Sociology and Anthropology)

1996: Environmental Visions and Environmentalism

Donald Swearer (Religion)

Course Syllabus

1995: Living Lightly on Earth

stawbale houseCarr Everbach (Engineering)

The Strawbale House Project [pdf]

1994: Sustainable Agriculture

Jacob Weiner (Biology)

1993: Energy

Arthur McGarity (Engineering)

Marcellus Shale Website

The Marcellus Shale stretches under most of the Appalachian Basin and contains large reserves of natural gas. Energy companies are leasing mineral rights from landowners and states throughout the region to access these reserves. The techniques used to get the natural gas, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal well drilling, have potentially adverse effects on the environment, human health, and communities.. The 2010 Environmental Studies Capstone, taught by Professor Carol J. Nackenoff on Environmental Justice and Water,  created a website with information on the Marcellus Shale natural gas plays for their final project.