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.
  • We have a unique partnership with the Mountain Resilience Coalition, with The Aspen International Mountain Foundation, Telluride Institute and Western Colorado University. 

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Environment Sustainability Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Profiles

Jonathan Coop smiles at the camera
“I’m really proud we can produce high-quality research and publish papers in scientific journals with my students. We’re out on the cutting edge of our field learning the things we don’t know yet."
Timmy Foulkes
Western showed then gave me a life of amazement, wonder and love not only for the out-of-doors but for a love of the people who continue to push and inspire me daily.
Dan Piquette
Double-major in Environment & Sustainability and Biology, 2014 Jim Olterman Scholarship recipient, Teaching Assistant for Biology, Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, and so much more!
Kevin Alexander works with students researching aquatic life.
“I like to think I'm a pretty good generalist. I do a lot with biological diversity, water quality, conservation easements and riparian biology along rivers and streams.”
Cody Washka
"At Western I can balance recreation with school work, because of the teachers who care so much and teach so well."

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. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship

Mahaffey Environmental Studies Scholarship is 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.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Jim and Dianne Mahaffey.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient 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

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Martin, Mike Memorial Scholarship

Martin, Mike Memorial Scholarship is 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.

Environmental & Sustainability Scholarship Provided by:

The Michael Martin Community Fund.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient 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

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Stewardship Scholarship

Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship is 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.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

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

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

Scholarship Recipient 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

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship - Freshmen

Nauman, James D. Environmental Studies Scholarship (Freshmen) Available to:

Must have applied and been admitted to Western 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.

Freshmen Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

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

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

Scholarship Recipient 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

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

 Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship

Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship is Available to:

 Full-time students who are majoring in Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology or a related field. Must be junior level (60 credits) or above and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA. Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences.

Environmental Studies Scholarship Provided by:

Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Application: Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Office of Financial Aid. A recommendation and a one page essay will be needed to complete the application.

Find out more about Western's Environmental Studies Program at www.western.edu/environmental-studies

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin Alexander headshot
Professor of Biology; Chair, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
D. Scott Borden, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty for Master in Environmental Management (MEM), Adjunct Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA, Coordinator of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities MEM Track, Resilience Studies Consortium Coordinator
B.A., Western Colorado University, M.A., Prescott College, Ph.D., University of Exeter
Phone: 970.943.2294
Office Location: Kelley Hall 108
Abel Chávez, Ph.D. headshot
Dean of Graduate Studies; Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Assistant Professor of Environment and Sustainability
B.S., University of Colorado Denver, M.B.A., University of Houston, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 104
Dr. Kate Clark headshot
Director of Undergraduate Environment and Sustainability Program; Graduate Faculty in Master in Environmental Management programs, Environment and Sustainability and Sociology programs
B.A., James Madison University, M.S. University of Colorado Boulder, Ph.D. Environmental Studies University of Colorado Boulder
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 146
Jonathan Coop headshot
Assistant Professor
B.A., University of California–Santa Cruz, Biology, 1995, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison, Botany, 2005
Phone: 970.943.2565
Office Location: Kelley Hall 105
Jennie DeMarco, Ph.D. headshot
Lecturer in Environment and Sustainability
B.S., Northern Arizona University , Ph.D., University of Florida
Phone: 970.943.2013
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 303
Matthew Ebbott headshot
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
Suzanne Ewy, J.D. headshot
Coldharbour Chair in Environment & Sustainability, Executive Director, Coldharbour Institute
J.D., Seattle Law School, M.S.L., Vermont Law School, B.S., Fort Lewis College
Phone: 970.943.2023
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Karen Hausdoerffer, MFA headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Stanford University, M.F.A., University of Idaho
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114B
Dr. John C. Hausdoerffer headshot
Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability
B.A., Western State Colorado University; , M.A., St. John's College; , Ph.D., Washington State University.
Phone: (970) 943-3450
Office Location: Kelley Hall 142
Corinne Knapp, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Environment & Sustainability, and Integrative and Public Land Management MEM Coordinator
B.A., University of Colorado, M.S., Colorado State University, Ph.D., University of Alaska
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 106
Jack Lucido headshot
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
Salif P. Mahamane 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
Taryn Mead, Ph.D. headshot
Graduate Faculty
B.A., Western Colorado University, Ph.D., University of Exeter - UK
Phone:
Office Location: Kelly Hall 108
Brooke Moran, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education for MEM Graduate Program, Adjunct Graduate Faculty for Outdoor Industry MBA
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
Dr. Jeff Sellen headshot
Director of Environment & Sustainability, Assistant professor of Environment & Sustainability, 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
Lynn L. Sikkink, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Anthropology
B.A., University of Colorado; , M.A., University of Minnesota, Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
Phone: 970.943.2062
Office Location: Hurst Hall 31C
Sally Thode headshot
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainability
B.S., Colorado State University, M.S., Colorado State University
Phone:
Office Location: Kelley Hall 114A
Jessica Young, Ph.D. headshot
Global Coordinator, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainability
B.A., University of California San Diego, Ph.D., Purdue University
Phone: 970.943.2195
Office Location: Leslie J. Savage Library 120

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 BIOL 130 - Environmental Biology (3 credits)

An introduction to basic biological principles as they apply to interactions between organisms and their environment. Consideration is given to biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics, and evolution with a special emphasis on human impacts on these biological systems. This course establishes a strong foundation in applied biology from a scientific perspective.

 BIOL 135 - Environmental Biology Laboratory (1 credits)

An experimental approach in both the field and laboratory to explore fundamental biological principles including biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics and evolution. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 130.

 ENVS 100 - Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (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; COM 202 is recommended.

 ENVS 301 - Science of Sustainability and 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; field experiences on campus and in the community involve students directly in the application of these principles. Themes include sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, and conservation and restoration. Prerequisites: BIOL 130, BIOL 135, PHYS 125

 ENVS 350 - U.S. and Western Environmental Politics (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 200 or COM 202; and ECON 370.

 ENVS 360 - Global Environmental Policy (3 credits)

A critical examination of key perspectives, economic and political processes, policy actors, and institutions involved in global environmental issues. Students analyze ecological, cultural, and social dimensions of international environmental concerns and governance as they have emerged in response to increased recognition of global environmental threats, globalization, and international contributions to understanding of these issues. The focus of the course encourages students to engage and evaluate texts within the broad policy discourse on globalization, justice, and the environment. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201, ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 ENVS 370 - Water Policy and Politics (3 credits)

Study of the history, politics and institutions related to water policy and administration with comparative reference to different regions of the United States and internationally. Attention is given to the industrial development of the East and the created water resources of the arid West as a way to understand changing social sentiments toward water and water policy. The course also examines water pollution laws and water management. Prerequisites: ENVS 100; ECON 201 or ENVS 200 or SCI 202; junior standing or instructor approval.

 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 400 - Applied Sustainability (3 credits)

A field-based, collaborative, problem-solving experience that addresses a current issue in environmental sustainability. Implementing frameworks such as resilient and systems thinking, students collect information, analyze results, write a report, publicly present their findings, and begin to implement solutions informed by their analysis. Students learn basic skills for transforming their ENVS education into compelling environmental professional career possibilities. Prerequisites: ENVS 350 and ENVS 390.

 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; or PHIL 335.

 HWTR 398 - Headwaters Conference (1 credits)

An annual two-day gathering on campus each fall, bringing together writers and scholars, local community leaders and activists, artists, government officials, and other interested citizens from the colleges and communities of the Headwaters Region to consider challenges and opportunities confronting the region. Students attend and participate in the conference and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Students attend and participate in the conference, complete applied research projects throughout the month following the conference, and write a paper about the experience in the context of their own lives and future plans. Student may take the course four times for additional credit. Prerequisite: junior standing or instructor permission.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1