Develop sustainable solutions to environmental issues.
Meredith’s environmental sustainability major is an interdisciplinary program focused on three foundations: natural and mathematical sciences, social sciences, and economics and communication.
Approximately 10% of new jobs by 2038 will be “green” careers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Examples of these new careers include: carbon broker, sustainability coordinator, environmental educator and ecotour guide.
At Meredith, you can tailor an environmental sustainability program that fits your professional career interests, by choosing from select liberal arts courses, such as environmental politics, ethics, and economics, in addition to science and math classes, and participating in a research or internship experience. As a result, you'll be prepared for a wide array of career options. And, you'll engage in your studies within a campus environment that is focused on issues of sustainability.
Students may choose to double major in environmental sustainability and another related major. The program also gives students numerous choices in electives, allowing them to simultaneously work toward their career goals in other disciplines such as education, engineering, business and design.
Meredith College students, faculty and staff are committed to a balance between environmental conservation, social justice and economic consideration. Meredith is working to spread awareness of environmental sustainability and is developing campus solutions that contribute to a healthy, safe and comfortable future for all.
Participation in research, study abroad, and internships are integral to the environmental sustainability program and help prepare the program’s graduates for green jobs. Students have participated in various study abroad programs including Meredith courses in Costa Rica and Iceland, School for Field Studies in Australia, and at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad Denmark (Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility). Students have conducted research and interned with the following organizations:
- ARCADIS (Infrastructure, Water, Environment, Buildings), Durham, NC
- Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF), Raleigh, NC
- North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Plant Conservation Program, Raleigh, NC
- Wildlife Rehabilitation and Environmental Education Interns, North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC
- Student Conservation Association (SCA), Environmental Education and Visitor Interpretation in Glacier (MT) and Theodore Roosevelt (ND) National Parks
The number of “green” careers is expanding significantly. The Pew Charitable Trusts found that green jobs grew 9.1% nationally over a 10-year period (1998-2007), when overall job creation increased by only 3.7% in the same period. An environmental sustainability degree prepares students for a wide array of potential careers, including:
- renewable energy
- community environmental planning
- sustainability consulting
- field/earth science and ecology
- environmental engineering
- organizational sustainability
- environmental law and policy
- public administration
- media analysis
Positions held by recent Meredith graduates in this field include:
- Pharmacy Assistant, NC State University Veterinary School
- Intern, Environmental Research and Education Foundation
- Program Assistant, Energy Division at NC Department of Commerce
- Solar Administrator, Southern Energy Management, N.C.
- MSPH Climate Change Epidemiologist, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Public Health, N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services
- Research Technician, Nicholas School for the Environment, Duke University, N.C.
Meredith College currently has a grant from the Margaret K. Cargill Foundation to support curriculum development and student-faculty research in environmental sustainability. To date, grant funds have been used to support student research stipends and expenses to study forest regeneration in Costa Rica with Erin Lindquist and faculty sustainability curriculum workshops at Duke University and Meredith College with colleagues from institutions around North Carolina.
In addition to this discipline-specific scholarship opportunity, Meredith offers a range of merit and need-based financial assistance. Last year, Meredith coordinated $42.8 million in financial assistance.
Meredith’s student/faculty ratio of 11:1 and average class size of 17 ensure that students get to know their professors. In turn, our faculty know students by name and, just as important, are familiar with each student’s unique strengths and interests. This allows faculty to identify interesting research and internship opportunities for students, to write meaningful letters of recommendation, and to support students as they conduct in-depth undergraduate research. In fact, students and faculty frequently work together on such projects—more than 140 were conducted by student/faculty teams last year.
Environmental sustainability faculty who teach the required courses in the major and minor include the following:
- Erin Lindquist, Ph.D., is program coordinator and teaches environmental science in the program. Dr. Lindquist maintains research program focused on temperate and tropical forest ecosystems, co-PI of a NSF grant to develop a national network of faculty and students investigating ecological processes (www.erenweb.org), leads a summer study abroad program in Costa Rica, co-author (with undergraduate students) of an illustrated, bilingual field guide to the trees of Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve in Costa Rica and articles on the Meredith College Forest.
- Matthew Stutz, Ph.D., teaches environmental resources in the program: recently published a well-cited and publicized article in the Journal of Coastal Research that highlights his discovery of more than 600 new barrier islands worldwide, conducted a greenhouse gas inventory of Meredith with his Environmental Resources students (http://www.meredith.edu/sustainability/energy-climate.htm).
- Shannon Grimes, Ph.D., teaches environmental ethics in the program: received the Pauline Davis Perry Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, her current research is on the integration of science and religion in antiquity, particularly in the fields of alchemy and astronomy.
- Doug Wakeman, Ph.D., teaches environmental economics in the program and serves as Dean of Meredith's School of Business; Member of the Board of Directors of NC GreenPower, an independent nonprofit organization established to improve North Carolina's environment through voluntary contributions toward renewable energy and the mitigation of greenhouse gases; received the School of Business Teacher of the Year in 2011.
For information about other majors at Meredith, return to the Admissions majors page.