An increasing number of colleges are now offering environmental curricula. With unemployment hovering around 10 percent in the US, millions of Americans are enrolling in college hoping to improve their employment prospects.
According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States there are 19 million students enrolled in US colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 13.5 million 20 years ago.
As reported in a recent Newsweek article, “Green majors have become a hot commodity on campus. Universities launched at least 27 sustainability-themed programs, degrees, or certificates in 2007, up from just three in 2005. And that’s in addition to the scores of environment-related degrees, like environmental science or biology, that already existed.”
Some schools have been offering environmental curricula for decades. The College of the Atlantic has been providing human ecology classes since 1972 and in 2008 they inaugurated a program in Green and Socially Responsible Business. Starting this fall they also offer courses in Non-Profit Business.
“Students are really interested in campus sustainability and thinking about the environment in terms of a future career,” says Stephanie Pfirman, president of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors. “It used to be jobs versus environment. Now it’s jobs and environment.”
Environmental education spans the gamut of academic disciplines and an increasing number of environmental courses are focusing on practical application. Students are understanding that business is a central part of environmental stewardship.
“Students are really gravitating toward this,” says Jay Friedlander, the College of the Atlantic’s, director of the new business program. “They’re seeing that if you want to effect change in the world, you can do so with a powerful business model that improves society.”
Students are looking for viable career opportunities and schools around the world are meeting this interest with Green curricula that provide practical skills for a sustainable world.
© 2009, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved. Do not republish.