Maarten Vonhof, Director
Main Office: 3900 Wood Hall
Telephone: (269) 387-2716
Fax: (269) 387-2272
One of the goals of our University’s Mission Statement is “to advance responsible environmental stewardship;” in that same vein, the College of Arts and Sciences in its Strategic Plan, seeks to raise “awareness about the … environmental and international contexts of knowledge …” and has as one of its goals interdisciplinary education on all aspects of environmental problems. Accordingly, the Institute’s programs, as we conceive them, have three major duties: One, fostering environmental awareness and scientific literacy for the general WMU student; two, careful interdisciplinary training of majors and minors to understand environmental complexity and health, enabling our students to be creative problem solvers; and three, real-world engagement with environmental issues and solutions.
The Institute will also serve the Kalamazoo community and greater Southwestern Michigan as the center for environmental and sustainability expertise and action, and for sharing the most up-to-date environmental knowledge and sustainability best practices. We see ourselves as both participating in and leading the larger community toward increased understanding of nature and how humans interact with the rest of the biosphere, awareness of environmental issues and their possible solutions, and engagement in activities that promote ecological, social, and economic sustainability and justice.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, it is very critical that students work regularly with program advisors throughout their time at Western. Information about career choices, internships, summer jobs, graduate programs, and second majors is also available from our office.
Students in all options of the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program must earn at least a grade of “C” in all courses counted for their major/minor.
Baccalaureate Writing Requirement
Students who have chosen an Environmental and Sustainability Studies major will satisfy the Baccalaureate Writing Requirement by successfully completing ENVS 3200 Major Environmental Writings, or ENVS 4150 Environmental Laws.
Liberal Education/General Education Requirements
Students in any curriculum who successfully complete the Environmental and Sustainability Studies program will be deemed to have satisfied the criteria for Areas V, VI, and VII of the new General Education requirements (limited to 10 hours). Those students enrolled in the Arts and Sciences LEC curriculum will be deemed to have also satisfied the second required course from the LEC core in Areas V and VI.
Because the Program is broadly interdisciplinary, Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENVS) is called a coordinate major; thus, students who choose ENVS are required to take a second major, chosen from any college in the University, to provide depth in a particular discipline.
Students choosing their disciplinary major from within the College of Arts and Sciences have the option, upon graduation, to select either of their two majors as their “degree” major. If Environmental and Sustainability Studies is selected, students will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree if their second major is in the Humanities or Social Sciences; they will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree if that major is in the Sciences. Students choosing their disciplinary major as first degree will graduate accordingly.
Those students whose disciplinary major is in another college must graduate with their ENVS major as their second major.
In addition to satisfying all Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program requirements, students selecting Environmental and Sustainability Studies as their first major must satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum requirements as well as all University requirements. Those selecting ENVS as their second major must satisfy all requirements as designated by the College of the first major, as well as all University degree requirements.