What is the Center for the Environment? What is it trying to do?
Why does it do it? How does it do it? Where is it headed?
The broad mission of the Center for the Environment is to enable
our students and community to work toward environmentally responsible,
just, and equitable societies by bridging diverse interests and
backgrounds, and by deepening the connections between people, community,
and the Earth.
We imagine “environment” broadly—not just as
surroundings, not just as the air, water, and land on which we
depend, or that we pollute—but as sets of circumstances,
conditions, and contexts in which we live, work, and develop. We
seek common ground where edges have separated us—by discipline,
by lifeways, by points of view, by structures that may have kept
us from engaging in dialogue about “environment” in
our work and lives.
Respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity,
and social and environmental justice are the principles grounding
the vision and work of the Center.
The Center’s programs seek to offer frames for interdisciplinary
and cross-[cultural] dialogue and partnerships, which recognize
shared responsibility and interdependence. Our programs seek to
increase awareness of local, national, and global realities and
to encourage leadership within all of us to reflect, communicate,
and act as responsible citizens of the Earth.
A guiding principle of the Center for the Environment is the integration
of teaching, research, and community service such that activities
and programs positively reinforce each other. The Center serves
as a forum that brings together people from diverse backgrounds—faculty,
students, staff, and members of the wider community—to discuss
and collaborate on issues of mutual concern. An additional important
function is to serve the needs of all students studying the environment,
including those in the popular Environmental Studies (ES) major
and in the student-run Environmental Action Coalition.