Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary department designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to analyze complex environmental issues from a variety of perspectives--natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. With six core faculty, all with active research programs involving students, and contributions from faculty in twelve additional departments, Environmental Studies is one of the most comprehensive small-college environmental programs in the nation.
The department offers an extraordinary range of opportunities for hands-on learning. Many courses immerse students in local terrestrial, fresh-water, and marine habitats. Other programs lead abroad for a first-hand investigation of environmental problems in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Field trips are a component of most environmental studies courses. Students travel from campus to the deep, underground mines in Pennsylvania coal country, the nearby forests on the battlefields of the world-famous Gettysburg National Military Park, and the beaches on the Maryland and North Carolina Outer Banks. Students routinely visit Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual Environmental Film Festival or discuss environmental policy with decision makers, including representatives of federal agencies such as the National Park Service or EPA, environmental NGOs (e.g., the National Wildlife Federation or the Sierra Club), and members of Congress. In the summer students may enroll in departmental field courses that examine ecology in coastal Maine or the geography of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, or they may pursue environmentally oriented internships and research opportunities with faculty on campus or across the country.
In the classroom or laboratory, at an internship or on a service-learning project, in the comfort of the library or under demanding field conditions, students are taught to approach environmental issues with an open mind, to examine alternatives carefully, and to write and speak effectively about their work. The program prepares students for graduate study and careers in environmental science, environmental management, law, public policy, urban planning, positions with nonprofit organizations, and other related fields.