CONCENTRATION in the BS or BA ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES MAJOR

What You’ll Study

In addition to the core Environmental Studies courses, you’ll engage in advanced study of environmental law, environmental economics, and public health or planning. Round-out your experience with electives you choose, within topics ranging from natural resource conservation to peace and justice studies to the arts. In the end, you’ll pull your work together in a capstone colloquium designed specifically for this concentration.

The Capstone Experience

If you take on this concentration, you will be challenged to produce a major work of original research, then present it in writing and in a public presentation on campus. The best of these have been used as springboards for competitive internships, fellowships, and graduate programs. Most of all, these projects often make a real and meaningful difference through engagement with our community partners and local government.

Applied Learning

You get to participate in an internship (or two!), which could include an overseas post with the United Nations Environment Programme; the City of Asheville Sustainability Department; the U.S. EPA; or with a number of environmental nonprofits addressing clean energy, endangered species, water quality, and much more.

Your work will address real issues, giving you a chance to work intensively with peers and mentors. Projects involve research, guest speakers, and field work. You’ll get to analyze, synthesize, and reflect upon the cases in substantive papers and presentation. Recent case studies have included the state of North Carolina’s stance on fracking for natural gas; highway planning through the city of Asheville; and a regional paper mill’s efforts to remain within air and water quality compliance.

Finally, students in the EP&J concentration may elect to work on the Environmental and Social Justice Crew, which is supervised by the same faculty member who heads the EP&J concentration. The crew handles sustainability tracking on campus, and organizes a range of on and off-campus environmental advocacy programming for students.

Outcomes

You could move directly into a career or pursue graduate school in public administration, planning, policy studies, law, and more. With and without further school, our graduates with this concentration have gone on to work with land trusts as land protection coordinators; as researchers, writers, campaign planners, and attorneys for environmental advocacy organizations; in county and city planning and sustainability departments; and with state and federal environmental agencies.

Explore Classes in This Program

ENS 350

Global Environmental Health

What we do to Earth, we do to ourselves. Human health depends on our ability to live within the rhythms of this planet. In many ways, we have pushed beyond these limits and see significant impacts on our health. These impacts divide clearly along “developed world” and “developing world” lines. This course introduces basic tools used in environmental health, then investigates several specific issues and societal responses. Topics are presented through an environmental action lens in order to evaluate possible responses.

ECO 380

Environmental and Ecological Economics

Explore the relationship between social / economic systems and the environment. We analyze how markets fail, causing many environmental problems; how markets can be harnessed; and how various government strategies can lead to better management of environmental resources. We’ll discuss topics like resource valuation, cost-benefit analysis, and multi-criteria analysis as well as alternative government policy approaches.

ENS 422

Introduction to Environmental Law

Environmental law, which began to take shape in earnest in the 1960s, is a relatively young and very dynamic topic. After a review of how environmental policy is formulated within the pluralistic majoritarian setting of the United States, you’ll study the constitutional underpinnings of environmental law. Through close work with multiple major laws and case studies, you’ll consider the interrelated importance of legislatures, courts, administrative agencies, and science in establishing and then enacting various versions and visions of environmental quality and protection. Hear from guest speakers working in the field, and travel into the field yourself.

Meet Our Faculty

Teaching and learning at Warren Wilson is not for the faint of heart! And some days I wake up tired. But the strong-hearted, active-minded students and educators, busy together in this beautiful valley and beyond, send me home energized every day.

Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely
Amy L. Knisley, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner

As I field biologist, I always say our best laboratories are right out the back door of the science building. Within a 5 minute walk we have 3 ponds, a trout stream and 600 acres of Forest.

Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mark Brenner
Mark Brenner, Ph.D.
Mary Saunders Bulan

I believe students should develop practical skills using the tools of the trade, whether a piece of farm equipment, measurement instrument or software package. I also work to help students develop global perspective on agricultural sustainability with interacting cultural, political, geophysical and biological systems.

Mary Saunders Bulan, Ph.D.
Mary Saunders Bulan
Mary Saunders Bulan, Ph.D.
Dave Ellum

In today's world it is not enough to just know things, we need people who can also do things. Warren Wilson students take joy in accomplishing both — incredibly well.

Dave Ellum, Ph.D.
Dave Ellum
Dave Ellum, Ph.D.
Liesl Peterson Erb

I am more guide than teacher; I love guiding intelligent, passionate students as they help change the world not just after they graduate, but as part of their educational experience.

Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Liesl Peterson Erb
Liesl Peterson Erb, Ph.D.
Robert W. Hastings

If it was simple, we would have figured it out already.

Robert W. Hastings, P.G., M.S.
Robert W. Hastings
Robert W. Hastings, P.G., M.S.
Mallory McDuff

The best part of the job is watching students graduate with a strong portfolio of experiences and find meaningful work connecting people to places.

Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.
Mallory McDuff
Mallory McDuff, Ph.D.
Amy Knisely