interested in making the planet a healthier, more harmonious place are signing
up for IUP’s newest minor program of study, Sustainability Studies. Started just over a year ago, partially in
response to rapidly growing job opportunities in this field, the program
already boasts 19 minors.
Guardian newspaper reported
that “sustainability will be written into every job description of the future.”
As career pathways like corporate sustainability officers and directors of
sustainability at nonprofit organizations become more established, students
are discovering that a minor in sustainability studies is a way to market their
major while studying something they are passionate about.
The popularity of IUP Sustainability Studies was borne out in the fall
2016 semester when attendance at sustainability programming was standing-room
only. Some of the speakers included
IUP’s own Erin Conlin, History Department, who
spoke on her research on pesticide exposure among African American farmworkers
in Florida’s agricultural fields. Also
featured was Melissa Troutman, journalist and documentary filmmaker, who gave
a presentation on her upcoming new documentary film, Invisible Hand, which deals with the ongoing battle by Grant
Township residents to reject a fracking injection well there. Sustainability Studies was especially proud
to bring the director of the program in Health, Medicine, and Society from
Lehigh University, Kelly Austin, to talk about women and climate-related
disasters in Bududa, Uganda.
emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, sustainability studies equips
students to tackle environmental problems as interconnected with social issues. In addition to coursework selected from
the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, all students take a foundational
course in sustainability and must complete a capstone experience to give them
an opportunity to synthesize the knowledge and skills gained from their
One student who recently
completed the minor, for example, did a capstone project on his field study in
the Brazilian Amazon concerning the challenges faced by Kayapó people as they experience
deforestation and dams in their homeland.
with the community are at the heart of the Sustainability Studies program, as
it works to create civic engagement opportunities for students and faculty. The program has collaborated, for example,
with the Indiana Community Garden, and has screened educational documentaries with
the Center for Community Growth. Sustainability Studies also begun to work with
Evergreen Conservancy and the League of Women Voters to explore sustainable
development options in our regional water, energy, and food systems.
With all of
these accomplishments in hand, IUP Sustainability Studies is looking ahead to
2017 as another year for making more connections and experiences that will be
valuable for our students and the Indiana community.
For information about the SUST minor, please contact the SUST