After several years of toiling away as a minor, the environmental studies program at North Central is finally offering a major.
“I personally feel like every student should take a class on the environment because it is so critical and especially with climate change, we need educated citizens,” said Dr. Martha Bohrer, coordinator of the environmental studies program.
Students are encouraged to take courses that relate the environment to society, science and sustainable business. “We have three different business professors participating in the program and offering a course in environmental economics this semester,” said Bohrer.
“The strong links between the major and the business school means you can focus on sustainable business at the undergraduate level, which is rare,” said Dr. Erin C. Bergren, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies. “Our robust science program has always been linked into the ENV minor and is now a part of the major.”
The program will also make a concerted effort to utilize our location. “We sit here on the corn belt and have easy access to the metropolitan area,” said Bohrer. “And we want to make sure we use our setting to its fullest.”
Given today’s political landscape, environmental education feels even more relevant and potentially controversial. “What worries me is the way that environmental issues, which are fundamental to everyone’s home, health and livelihood have been pulled into an increasingly polarized and toxic political milieu,” said Dr. Bergren. “I am worried that it is increasingly difficult to discuss solutions for fundamental problems like air pollution or climate change, without falling into political tribalism.”
However, there is reason to be optimistic. The program only began offering majors this fall and has already received 17 declared majors and even more declared minors. “I think it has the potential to be a really strong program,” said Dr. Bohrer.