The Environmental Studies Department at Gettysburg College is committed to anti-racism and dismantling structures of discrimination through our courses and our everyday working environments.
We recognize that racism along with other forms of discrimination—such as sexism, classism, and (dis)ableism—structure and plague our current institutional systems. These structures normalize inequitable distribution of rights, opportunities, and experiences.
In our interdisciplinary courses, through attention to environmental justice issues, we help students understand how institutional social systems as well as systems of interpersonal behaviors and attitudes can be discriminatory and unjust, and invite them to participate in re-orienting these systems towards equality and justice.
In our social science and humanites courses:
- Students engage with primary and secondary sources that expose historical and contemporary experiences of power, privilege and oppression within environmental movements and public policy making.
- Students are encouraged to reflect actively on the micro and macro factors that exclude and make invisible voices from racialized, ethnic, gender and sexuality-based (e.g. LGBTQ+), and other disenfranchised demographics.
- Students interrogate what types of environmental narratives are shared in the public archive, actively engage with experiential practices to identify implicit bias, and include this awareness in exercises focused on environmental problem-solving.
In our natural science courses:
- Students are exposed to how STEM fields are confronting their own histories of structural inequalities, exclusion, and privilege
- Course materials highlight the active contribution of BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, and first-generation scientists such that students are encouraged to embrace a more diverse understanding of the scientific enterprise—from re-thinking who can be a scientist, to questioning which communities science serves, and strategizing ways that scientists can play a contributing role to the dismantling of existing structural inequalities.
In our everyday interpersonal interactions, we understand that dismantling and overcoming deeply embedded structures of racism and other hierarchies of established power is an ongoing process. We strive to be allies who actively advocate for increased awareness, decreased prejudices, and a safe, inclusive teaching and learning environment where all members of our community can thrive. We welcome conversations on how we can do this better so we can fully embrace the College’s ideals of “the worth and dignity of all people and the limitless value of their intellectual potential” and “the value of ethical leadership that is inclusive, collaborative, and directed toward effecting change for the greater good” in our daily practices.