Environment & Sustainability

Western's Environment & Sustainability program helps students understand and address environmental problems. Pairing small classes with the vast classroom of the southern Rockies, Environment & Sustainability combines interdisciplinary courses in the natural sciences, environmental politics, environmental writing, environmental sociology, environmental economics and environmental ethics.

Environment & Sustainability students learn to understand ecological systems, analyze the environmental and social impacts of societies, and experiment with sustainable solutions to those impacts.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

The Environment & Sustainability program fosters leadership in sustainability and effective environmental citizenship through a network of student-led projects. Central to the program is the development of interdisciplinary, critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills by: 

  • Applying the knowledge and research methods of natural sciences to understand and analyze environmental problems and solutions. 
  • Implementing social-science findings and frameworks to address local, national and global environmental issues.  
  • Employing the insights of environmental history, literature and ethics to make better decisions concerning environmental impacts and resources.
  • Some students take an extra step toward real-world effectiveness with a coordinated double major in Business and Environment & Sustainability.

Beyond the Classroom

Our inspiring Rocky Mountain location provides one of the best learning laboratories in the world. The Environment & Sustainability program integrates three kinds of learning laboratories:

  • The diverse ecology and geology of the Rocky Mountains -
From deep canyons (including Black Canyon National Park) to alpine peaks, Western is surrounded by a world-class laboratory for field-based environmental study.
  • Public lands comprise some 85 percent of the area surrounding Western Colorado State University. The Bureau of Land Management, National Parks Service, National Forest Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife and several non-profit environmental groups maintain offices in Gunnison. Western students learn from and help manage projects with these organizations.

Courses

 ENVS 100 - INTRO TO ENVRNMNT SUSTAINBLTY (3 credits)

An interdisciplinary, historical analysis of the development of environmental problems, movements, and philosophies. Students apply historical lessons to critically examine sustainable solutions locally and globally.

 ENVS 200 - WRITING THE ENVIRONMENT (3 credits)

Students develop communication skills through presentations and writing on a variety of environmental issues appropriate to a wide variety of audiences. Through environmental essays, writing for nonprofit websites, grant proposals, and other forms of environmental writing, students are introduced to a broad range of skills needed for effective communication. Focus throughout the course on the analysis of arguments and texts further develops students' analytical and communication skills. Prerequisite: ENVS 100

 ENVS 301 - SCIENCE OF SUSTAIN RESILIENCE (3 credits)

A holistic inquiry into how humans might live the next chapter of our history, guided by the ecological principles of sustainability and resilience. Environmental problems and their possible solutions are analyzed critically and quantitatively

 ENVS 350 - US WESTERN ENVIRONMENTAL POL (3 credits)

An historical and contemporary investigation of U.S. environmental policies with an applied focus on the impact of national policy on the ecosystems and cultures of the American West. Reciprocally, this course traces how pubic lands agencies, social movements, historical land uses, and diverse cultures in the West shape U.S. environmental policy. Students combine analysis and discussion of major U.S. policies, prominent theories and issues, and student-led environmental service projects to better understand environmental challenges. Prerequisites: ENVS 100

 ENVS 373 - THE WATER PLANET (3 credits)

An advanced water science course specifically designed for students interested in water related environmental science and policy. Topics include the physical and chemical properties of natural fesh waters and the movement and reserviors of fresh water within the water cycle. The course includes several hands-on exercises and field experiences where students investigate and analyze natural waters in the Gunnison Basin. Prerequisites: GEOL 101

 ENVS 375 - SEMINAR IN WATER TOPICS (3 credits)

An occasional offering that may include water topics in politics and policy, ethics and philosophy, or science. Prerequisite: ENVS 200 and ENVS 301, or instructor permission.

 ENVS 390 - ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING (4 credits)

A field-work based study of local (Gunnison Basin) environmental problems. Numerous monitoring techniques are implemented based on principles of biology, chemistry, and geology. The emphasis is on collaborative and integrative group projects dealing directly with real-world environmental problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 301 and one of the following: ECON 216, MATH 213 or SOC 211.

 ENVS 410 - ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS (3 credits)

A seminar on the complexities of environmental issues from a philosophical perspective. The course also offers a survey of the evolution of environmental moral philosophy as well as in-depth analysis of major thinkers in the field. Students confront ethical concerns from both historical and personal perspectives, with an emphasis on the ability to critically evaluate and apply these perspectives to their work in environmental fields. Prerequisite: ENVS 301 and 350

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship

Available to:
Students who have demonstrated community involvement with environmental solutions, academic excellence and a dedication to mountain environments which could encompass recreational activity, personal connection, or service.

Provided by:
Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application:
Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 240

 Martin, Mike Memorial Scholarship

Available to:
Environment & Sustainability majors who have a GPA of 3.0 or above. Preference will be given to a resident of Crested Butte, Colorado. If no applicants meet this requirement, preference will be given to a resident of Gunnison, Colorado. If no applicants meet the criteria, applicants must be a resident of Colorado.

Provided by:
The Michael Martin Community Fund.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:
Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application:
Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Stewardship Scholarship

Available to:
Full-time students majoring in Environment & Sustainability with a minimum of 30 credits at Western. Must have made a significant contribution towards environmental stewardship while at Western. Students must demonstrate academic achievement and progress towards ENVS major.

Provided by:
Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available (Anticipated award $500).

Selected by:
Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application:
Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship - Freshmen

Available to:
Must have applied and been admitted to Western State Colorado University and have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a degree in Environment & Sustainability. Must be enrolled full-time. Preference given to students with financial need.

Provided by:
Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount:
Award depends on funds available. (Anticipated award $500.00)

Selected by:
Environment & Sustainability Council.

Application:
Application and deadline information available on the ENVS web page. Or contact the Director of Environment & Sustainability Program. (970) 943-3162 - Kelley Hall 108

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Assistant Professor in Biology and Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Biology, University of California–Santa Cruz, 1995, Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2005
Phone: (970) 943-2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
Senior Lecturer in Recreation and Outdoor Education
B.A., John Carroll University; , M.S., Western Illinois University
Phone: (970) 943-2115
Office Location: Wright Gym 222
Professor and Director of the Master of Environmental Management Program
B.A., Western State College of Colorado; , M.A., St. John's College; , Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 107
Associate Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., Humboldt State University; , M.F.A., University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Phone: (970) 943-3052
Office Location: Taylor Hall 212E
Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education, Recreation and Outdoor Education Program Coordinator
B.S., University of New Hampshire; M.A., Harvard Graduate School of Education; Ph.D., University of New Hampshire.
Phone: (970) 943-2118
Office Location: Wright Gym 223
B.A. Environmental Studies, Western State Colorado University; M.A. in History, McMaster University; Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental History, McMaster University.
Phone: (970) 943-2427
Office Location: Kelley Hall 106
Director of Environment & Sustainability and Director of the Colorado Water Workshop
B.A., Wartburg College; M.A., University of Nebraska-Omaha; Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3162
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Professor of Anthropology
B.A., University of Colorado; , M.A., Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
Phone: (970) 943-2062
Office Location: Hurst Hall 16D
Professor of Environmental Management
Phone:
Office Location: