Sustainable & Resilient Communities Track

Get Involved

There are many opportunities to work with faculty on projects around Western’s campus and in the Gunnison community, including:

Coldharbour Institute: Developing partnerships that empower international communities to address climate change on our 334-acre ranch site.

CS2I Lab: Incubating solutions to real-world problems for real partners.

Earth Tub: Diverting and composting food waste at Western to use at local farms.

Organics Guild: Growing and distributing local food to the community through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Renewable Energy: Promoting and maintaining local renewable energy programs on Western’s campus, including solar and wind efforts.

Sustainability Action Committee: Working to strengthen partnerships between Western and local stakeholders in a variety of sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability Marketing: Raising public awareness and inspiring action by promoting socially responsible purchasing and changes in consumptive behaviors. 

Faculty & Staff


Melanie  Armstrong, Ph.D.  headshot
Assistant Professor & Public Lands Coordinator
Office Location: Kelley Hall 109
Abel Chávez, Ph.D. headshot
Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability
B.S., University of Colorado Denver, Mechanical Engineering, 2002, MBA, University of Houston, Business Administration, 2005, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver, Civil Engineering, 2012
Phone: 970.943.2017
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104 and Taylor Hall 322
Kate Clark, Ph.D.  headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment & Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment & Sustainability and Sociology programs
B.A., James Madison University, M.S., University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder, Environmental Studies
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Luke  Danielson headshot
Clark Sustainable Development Chair in Environment and Sustainability
JD, University of California School of Law, B.A., Antioch College
Phone: 303.912.0855
Office Location: Kelley 206
Suzanne Ewy, JD headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
B.S., Fort Lewis College, MSL, Vermont Law School, J.D., Seattle Law School
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.  headshot
Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., St. John's College, Ph.D., Washington State University
Phone: 970.943.3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Salif P. Mahamane, M.S. headshot
Assistant Professor of Psychology; Graduate Faculty, MEM
B.A., Baylor University, M.S., New Mexico Highlands University, Doctoral Candidate, Utah State University
Phone: 970.943.7037
Office Location: Kelley Hall 240
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Environment and Sustainability, Master in Enviornmental Management and Master of Science in Ecology
B.A., University of California San Diego, Ph.D., Purdue University
Phone: 970.943.2195
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 120

More than 140 nonprofit partners and our ICELab, a center for incubating new businesses, give you the opportunities to realize your dreams.

The Program

Through its action-oriented approach to learning, the Sustainable & Resilient Communities (SRC) track prepares students to work in renewable energy, food justice, nonprofit and for-profit management, climate action planning, sustainability consulting, alternative building, environmental education and more. As a student in the Sustainable & Resilient Communities track, you will be able to partner with our faculty in real-world and complex projects which can enhance your learning and leadership opportunities. On the back page is only a small sample of some of the organizations and projects students could work with. Our faculty can help you identify and connect with engaging opportunities tailor-made to your interests. 

What Skills Will I Acquire?

With an MEM degree, you will be able to scope, manage and execute a diverse set of environmental projects at various scales. Your extensive field training and applied experiences through the 600-hour master’s project—which can be completed anywhere in the world—will ensure your learning of the hard and soft skills most relevant for facilitating action-oriented projects globally, including:

  • Project and organizational management
  • The ability to understand and assess community infrastructure systems
  • Cultural dexterity
  • Climate action planning
  • Financial analysis
  • Environmental and social entrepreneurship
  • Life-cycle assessment

Quick Facts

  • More than 85 percent of graduates obtain environmental management careers.
  • Students gain on-the-ground and applied experience during our block scheduling.
  • Course schedules allow attendance of working professionals.
  • Our 8:1 student-mentor ratio provides personalized attention for course, project and career success.