Home Resources SSI News UCSD Students Gravitating to 'Green' Majors, Courses and Internships - January 29, 2010
UCSD Students Gravitating to 'Green' Majors, Courses and Internships - January 29, 2010

Rex Graham | December 14, 2009

From energy economics and sustainable building designs to water conservation and biofuels made from algae, sharply higher numbers of UC San Diego undergraduates are opting for majors and minors, classes, internships and research projects that emphasize environmental sustainability.

Ribbon cutting at SRC











The ribbon-cutting ceremony during the Sustainability Resource Center opening. (Photo / Jonathan Lee)

This year alone, the number of students minoring in Environmental Studies doubled to 60 and Environmental Engineering majors increased 50 percent to 92. In the eight years since the Division of Physical Sciences created the Environmental Systems major, enrollment has grown from a handful of students to more than 200 registered this fall.

Even individual classes with green themes are popular. For example, more than 250 students enrolled in Economics of Conservation when the Department of Economics first offered the course in 2008-09. Another environmental class offered for the first time this year, Global Carbon Science and Politics – The Road from Copenhagen, quickly reached the maximum enrollment of 60 students. Others eager to take the course were put on a waiting list.

Greater interest in sustainability is evident among UC San Diego undergraduates in all six colleges and every school and department. Experienced faculty members say they haven’t seen such fervor since the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960s and ’70s. The spirited opening celebration in November of the university’s new Sustainability Resource Center was led by members of the Student Sustainability Collective, a student-financed and student-run group now housed in the center. The collective’s six teams work on activism and community outreach related to water conservation, public transportation, urban development, waste and energy, civil and human rights, and sustainable foods.

“Almost every day, students remind me and other university leaders and faculty that they want more opportunities to make a positive difference in the environmental stewardship of the campus, the surrounding community and the planet,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “We’re already one of the greenest campuses in the nation, but our students are continually pushing the campus to do more, and they’ve demonstrated an eagerness to contribute their time and energy to make it happen.”

Article found at http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/thisweek/2009/12/14_src.asp.