Feb 01, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environment and Sustainability, Institute of the

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Maarten Vonhof, Director
Main Office: 3900 Wood Hall
Telephone: (269) 387-2716
Fax: (269) 387-2272

Steven Bertman
Lynne Heasley
Sarah Hill
Steven Kohler
Daniel Macfarlane

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 participate in and lead the larger community toward increased understanding of nature and how humans interact with their environment, awareness of environmental issues and their possible solutions, and engagement in activities that promote ecological, social, and economic sustainability and justice.

The Institute has three majors (Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Freshwater Science and Sustainability, and Sustainable Brewing) and one minor (Environmental and Sustainability Studies). All programs are interdisciplinary and involve taking courses delivered by the Institute, as well as courses from many other academic departments on campus. The Environmental and Sustainability Studies major is a required dual major, while the other two majors (Freshwater Science and Sustainability, and Sustainable Brewing) are stand-alone majors.


Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, it is very critical that students work regularly with College of Arts and Sciences advisors throughout their time at Western. Information about career choices, internships, summer jobs, graduate programs, and second majors is also available from the Director and faculty of the Institute.

Academic Standards

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.

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