Student Research and Service
The Center for Sustainability and the Environment encourages students to engage in original research. At its best, research is a team effort that builds on previous work, supports future work, and is directed toward solving real problems. It is also intellectually stimulating and, in simpler language, just plain fun! The Center has funds to provide stipends to support students who engage in summer research and service projects.
In our Rice Creek Project, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment collaborated with citizens groups and county agencies. Bringing backgrounds from political science, chemistry, biology and geology to the project, over the course of several summers, the students developed a broad understanding of the aquatic system. Several classes and individual faculty and students continue to study the creek an improve our understanding of it.
Another group project is the E-House, a living-learning experience for students interested in the important issue of sustainability. Established in 2005, this typical Midwestern small town house is home to six students who are working to demonstrate how such dwellings can be improved to decrease their environmental footprint. The students in the house are active in reaching out to the community and campus.
Other research efforts have been directed toward developing an ecological inventory of the upper branches of the Kalamazoo River, and using this as a basis for encouraging sustainable uses and practices along this river. This stretch of river is largely groundwater fed, and is one of the cleanest, unspoiled stretches of river in the lower half of Michigan's southern peninsula. Pure research projects will support service projects, such as developing sustainable recreational opportunities and educational programs based using the river.
We also have abundant opportunities for students to work on independent projects on and off campus. Students have worked on campus on projects such as avian ecology and surface chemistry. Another student, with medical as well as environmental interests, completed a research internship on toxicology at Henry Ford Hospital, and others have worked on problems such as coal gasification and mercury contamination at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Biology students have worked with Albion faculty on Ornithology in the College's nature center, Sharks in the Florida Keys, tropical plants in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and marine invertebrates in the Bay of Fundy.
Student research in the Center for Sustainability and the Environment is supported by a campus-wide interest in integrating research into education. Our Albion Foundation for Undergraduate Research provides students with stipends for summer work and funds for supplies, expenses and travel to professional meetings. Additionally, the foundation works with faculty to develop research as a way of teaching. Modest research projects are becoming an integral part of courses at all levels on our campus. Our well-equipped laboratories provide the opportunity to do state of the art research in biology, chemistry, and geology. Our annual Elkin Isaacs Student Research Symposium celebrates student achievement, and many students also present their results off campus at professional meetings.
The Albion College Environmental House (E-House) is a sustainable living/learning center for undergraduate student residents who collaborate closely with faculty and staff. The primary mission of the E-House is to assist participating students, the College as a whole, and the larger community to learn to live more sustainably by minimizing the environmental impacts of their daily lives.
Munger Annex, 405 N. Berrien St., a five-minute walk from the College's main Quad. Read more about Munger Annex in the Office of Residential Life section of the website.
The E-House fosters the students' investigation of, and ability to manage, physical (e.g., heating, cooling, lighting), biological (e.g., foods, grounds, gardening), and cultural (e.g., consumerism, entertainment) systems. E-House participation enables students to develop (a) a holistic view of their own impact on the environment and (b) responsibility for their own actions, while allowing them to practice sustainability in their daily lives as a matter of conviction. Participating students are encouraged to investigate the applicability of sustainable living practices to typical Michigan housing. The E-House demonstrates best practices for both the College and the Albion community while serving as an ideal vehicle for students' experiential learning.
The E-House operates under a system of shared governance among the residents. This includes an ability to demonstrate a collaborative approach to making decisions about all aspects of living and learning in a community. Student participants in the program commit to live in the E-House for a full academic year (fall and spring semesters). All E-House residents simultaneously enroll in a course in Environmental Sustainability that encompasses many of the learning objectives of the program.
The Center's programs in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Sustainability Studies lead to a wide number of career paths following your studies at Albion.
The Environmental Sciences major and concentration are intended for students who are planning a career in the environmental field, either as a researcher or practitioner. Students will be well prepared for graduate work in this area or for entry-level jobs at environmental consulting firms, analytical laboratories, government agencies, or advocacy groups.
The Environmental Studies major and concentration are designed for students who have an interest in environmental issues and plan careers in related fields. Science journalism and environmental advocacy groups are examples of career choices for students completing these programs.
The Sustainability Studies major prepares students for graduate-level work in interdisciplinary fields such as environmental management and sustainability policy, and includes an international dimension through exchanges between Albion College and the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) in France.
If you have a question about Albion College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment, or are a prospective or current student looking to schedule an interview with the Center, please complete the form below or send an e-mail to
. Thank you for your interest!