New Directions for the Center for the Environment

Posted: January 29, 2010

The Center for the Environment (CE) embarks on a new season with new directions, resources, and topics for the upcoming semester. Their spring theme, “Policy in Action: Implications for Environmental Literacy, Education, and Leadership,” will explore the multidisciplinary connections between environmental policy and global perspectives.

In addition to related events and opportunities, CE will now offer access to new resources for students and faculty that will enable them to engage in the most up-to-date news and information on energy, environmental, and climate policy online. Publications, including Greenwire, Energy and Environment Daily, and ClimateWire, are provided by E&E Publishing, a leading source in comprehensive, daily coverage of environmental and energy policy and markets, and will be available through the MHC library.

Students will also be able to access Vital Signs Online, an interactive, subscription-based tool, put together by the Worldwatch Institute, which provides hard data and research-based insights on the sustainability trends that are shaping the global future. This tool will allow students to examine trends in energy and transportation, food and agriculture, global economy and resources, and population and society. Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization trusted by opinion leaders around the world for its accessible, fact-based analysis of critical global issues.

“ ‘Policy in Action' simply means we're focusing on helping students explore how ideas and concepts for sustaining the human-nature relationship might evolve into effective laws and policies,” said Professor Tim Farnham, Leslie and Sarah Miller Director of the Center for the Environment. “It's fascinating and extremely instructive to follow the environmental governing process from creation to implementation to evaluation. Our overall goal is to engage students in the larger conversation of how environmental literacy, education, and leadership can make a difference in the practical realm of environmental policy."

As part of an ongoing effort to provide students with real-life experiences beyond the campus, the center offers Summer Leadership Fellowships, which fund challenging internships pre-arranged exclusively for Mount Holyoke students. These fellowships fund opportunities at selected nonprofit organizations, such as like Heifer International, the Nature Conservancy, Harvard Forest, Silent Spring Institute, Worldwatch Institute, and others. The opportunities are individually arranged with sponsors to provide students with connections beyond those offered by typical internship programs. Students with interest and relevant backgrounds, and majoring in any field, may apply.

The goal of the Center for the Environment is to help students develop a critical understanding of fundamental environmental issues and the interactions between people and environmental systems as well as explore social, cultural, historical, political-economic, and scientific dimensions of environmental concerns. Students are encouraged to make direct connections between academic studies and real-world issues, problems, and solutions.

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