Academic Programs

Majors and Concentrations

The following programs of study are offered through Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment.

Environmental Science Major

The 10-unit environmental science major provides broad exposure to environmental sciences at the introductory level, focused work in science at the upper level, and a set of cognates designed to show the social and humanistic context in which scientists work.

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Environmental Studies Major

Students completing the environmental studies major will gain a deep understanding of the complex relationships among natural and social systems, as well as a proficiency in the analytical, rhetorical and creative skills necessary to perceive the wonders of the natural and human worlds and to solve the environmental challenges we face in the twenty-first century.

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Sustainability Studies Major

Note: This major is currently under revision. Please contact Timothy Lincoln, CSE director, for further information.

This major offers an opportunity for Albion students to participate in an international, interdisciplinary program that is grounded in the social sciences and designed for students who are engaged in today’s and tomorrow’s sustainability challenges.

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Environmental Science Concentration

Some environmental careers are practiced primarily in one field of science. Students interested in pursuing such careers should consider the option of a science major with an environmental science concentration. It is strongly advised that students talk with science faculty in choosing their option.

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Environmental Studies Concentration

The environmental studies concentration is designed for students who have an interest in environmental issues and plan careers in related fields. The choice of courses for this concentration is more open than in the environmental science concentration, due to the varying interests and backgrounds of the students who choose this option. Participating students may pursue a major in any field. Students who complete this concentration might, for example, enter science journalism or work for environmental advocacy groups.

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Albion College Student Farm

The mission of the Albion College Student Farm Association is to cultivate a student-organized, all-natural, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing produce garden for the benefit of students and faculty from all academic disciplines and community members of all ages.

Using a combination of fields, a hoop house, and Three Sisters plots, the student farm grows a variety of peppers, tomatoes, green beens, onions, squash, corn, beets, and herbs at its location in the Whitehouse Nature Center

The goals of the student farm include:

  • Promote gardening as an uplifting, healthful, environmentally-friendly activity
  • Experiment with organic gardening practices such as composting and planting heirloom seeds
  • Raise awareness about the role of a local diet in reducing carbon footprint by offering our produce to Dining Services, student apartments, and annexes
  • Help ensure equal access to nutritious food in the Albion community by donating produce to local charities
  • Encourage Albion residents, especially youth, to learn about and appreciate organic gardening, become more connected with their local food system, and grow a deeper sense of community.

A group of five students started the farm during Albion’s Year of Sustainability in 2010.

Student Workers

The farm is a three way collaboration among Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, the Whitehouse Nature Center, and an independent student organization.

The work in the student farm is all volunteer during the school year. In the summer, the Center for Sustainability employs two interns to work half time at the farm, with the Nature Center employing them the other half of their time. 

Gardens and Hoop House

The The 1,440-square-foot growhouse is a "greenhouse on wheels." The hoop house was made possible by a generous gift from the Baird family in honor of Jessica Baird’s, ’11, graduation. Jessie was one of the founding members of the student organization. The Student Senate has also supported the student organization generously over the years.

In the hoop house, student farmers grow tomatoes and a variety of peppers. Outside the hoop house, students manage Three Sisters plots (corn, beans, and squash), as well as:

  • Winter squash
  • Watermelons
  • Various herbs, including basil, parsley, oregano, mints
  • Onions 
  • Summer squash
  • Green beans

How To Help

You can get involved with Albion's student farm by volunteering with the Student Farm Association, or apply to work at the student farm during the summer. Contact CSE Director Tim Lincoln for details. 

The student farm needs help with:

  • Weeding
  • Composting
  • Planting and cultivating crops

 

Other Trip Details

An experiment aimed at understanding the growth and carbon sequestration under elevated CO2 is explained at Oak Ridge National Lab

On the trip, we also explored other issues and visited other relevant places. At the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Labs, we visited the environmental section, where experiments ranging from ways to lessen fish kills from hydroelectric turbines to studies of the potential effects of elevated global CO2 on forest growth were explained.

Early morning mists shroud Fontana Dam, built to provide power to war industries, including Oak Ridge, in the 1940's

On another day we visited the TVA headquarters and the nearby Norris Dam, first of many hydroelectric projects which forever altered both the economy and the riparian ecology of the region.

 Students stroll amid the gardens of Eco-village residents

We ended the trip with a quick visit to Berea College's Eco-village. This complex of apartments uses 75% less water and energy than conventional housing. The progressive environmental and social innovations shown by a sister College provided inspirational and up end to our trip.

 

Tiles created by children in the complex adorn the base of a demonstration straw bale pavilion in the complex

Other Aspects

Wild (feral) ponies visit our campsite on Assateaque Island

On the trip we also visited Assateaque Island and Ocean city Maryland, to contrast the quiet waters of the bay with the open coast of the barrier islands, and the natural Assateaque seashore with developed Ocean City. We concluded the trip in Washington DC, where students had a day to explore the City on their own.

Kapil, John and Wes prepare dinner on Assateaque IslandChemistry Professor Cliff Harris poses with models in one of many shops along the Ocean City BoardwalkErica and Lisa discuss global change policy with Senator Debbie Stabenow's environmental aideStudents relax in the National Building Museum after visiting the display on green building

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