Environmental Citizenship and Engagement
Environmental Citizenship and Engagement is a co-curricular program that encourages students to be actively engaged in environmental and social issues and to take advantage of off-campus learning opportunities.
The Environmental Studies (ES) program is not merely an academic major. We are also a community that seeks to foster a deep appreciation of nature and active engagement in conserving the earth and solving environmental problems. Students not only gain knowledge and skills but also develop their own ethic of sustainability that motivates them to care for the natural world and work for its well-being. Our Environmental Citizenship and Engagement (ECE) Co-Curricular Program is designed to help cultivate an ecological conscience and the ability to apply it to make a better world.
The ECE Co-curricular Program includes several types of engagement.
- Volunteering at relevant activities and organizations.
- Participation in environmental organizations on or off campus.
- For-credit internships in environmental studies.
- Paid internships and employment that are relevant to environmental studies.
- Proactive learning opportunities off campus.
The ES website has a lot of information on these activities, including our “Current Opportunities” Web page that lists current openings. We also have pages on jobs, internships, volunteering and proactive learning.
As a way of keeping track of your engagement, ES majors produce a Record of Engagement, a history of their involvement in environmental issues. Because each student’s situation is unique, it is up to the student and her or his adviser to develop a plan of engagement that conforms to the student’s situation and interests. For the Record of Engagement there is no predetermined number of hours, but your engagement should range over at least four semesters and should embody and help deepen your ecological conscience. At the end of each academic year (around Earth Day), students submit their updated Record of Engagement to their adviser, and it is placed in the student’s environmental studies e-portfolio that they contribute to throughout their career in the ES program.
In addition, because we want students to gain greater self-knowledge, we ask students to reflect on their environmental values at two different stages in the program.
Then in the required core course ES 282, students complete a more detailed reflection on their values. And during ES 490: Senior Seminar, students reflect on their environmental values, citizenship, and engagement. These exercises will both help students think through their values and help us gauge how well the ECE co-curriculum program is doing.
All these forms are placed in the student's e-portfolio.
There is one other component of the ECE program. Although we are first and foremost a liberal arts program, we want our graduates to be in the best position possible to start the career of their choice and to be effective in positively impacting the world. As such we encourage students to learn about career possibilities and know what qualifications they need to cultivate in order to pursue them. In ES 260, we have students complete a Career Plan, and in the Senior Seminar they complete a Reflection on Careers and Qualifications. Both are added to the student's e-portfolio. Again, these brief exercises build self-knowledge in the student, helps them recognize what they need to be engaged in, and helps us assess the success of the ES program.
Citizenship and Engagement Forms
What about those forms ES students fill out? Click on the links below to see explanations or examples of these forms:
- Articulation of the student's environmental values (in ES 282)
- Career Plan form (in ES 260)
- Career Plan example
- Record of Engagement form
- Record of Engagement example (from Senior Seminar)
- Reflections on Citizenship and Engagement - form
- Reflections on Citizenship and Engagement example (in Senior Seminar)
- Reflections on Careers and Qualifications - form
- Reflections on Careers and Qualifications example (in Senior Seminar)
For answers to some questions you might have about the program, visit our Frequently Asked Questions Web page. If you have any questions about this co-curricular program, speak with your adviser or environmental studies Director David Barnhill.