Adrienne_DiRuzza '13

Sustainability Studies (minor)

SJC's Sustainability Studies minor allows students of any major to integrate stewardship and the three pillars of Sustainability, which include Economics, Environment, and Society, into their coursework. The minor is designed so that students: (1) gain a broad understanding of sustainability by exploring the interactions of society, economics, and the environment through the integration of diverse forms of knowledge; (2) gain a technical understanding of sustainability challenges with opportunities to analyze issues and explore solutions; (3) apply sustainability concepts within the core values of the College's mission to a critical problem through community-based research, workplace experience, service learning, or travel abroad.

DEPARTMENT

AVAILABLE DEGREES

Only available as a minor.

Why Sustainability Studies

  • 1In 2010, Forbes reported that pursuing a career in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability is considered to be “the best fit” for liberal arts majors, including marketing and communication majors.
  • 2Pollution, global warming, and other 21st century environment-related issues the world is facing are not a secret. As a result, many companies and organizations, including eBay, Facebook, and the US State Department, are striving to implement CSR. Thus, the demand for individuals with backgrounds in Sustainability Studies is rising dramatically.
  • 3According to the US Department of Labor, having a background in Sustainability Studies opens a wide array of career paths, including careers in law, planning, consulting, and management, that tend to pay well. For example, in 2010, foresters were reported to make an average salary of $57,420; urban planners were reported to make $63,040; and chief sustainability officers were reported to make $101,250. 

Careers in Sustainability Studies

  • Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Manager
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Forester
  • Green Business Executive
  • Green Consultant
  • Product Stewardship Manager
  • Social Impact Director
  • Sustainability Communication Specialist
  • Sustainability Organizational Change Consultant
  • Sustainability Engineer
  • Sustainability Fund Manager
  • Sustainability Research Analyst
  • Sustainable/Organic Farmer
  • Urban Planner

Why Study Sustainability Studies at Saint Joseph's College?

Variety

The Christian Humanism principles that lie at the root of SJC's nationally accredited Core Program also serve as the basis for our Sustainability Studies minor. While our students critically examine the vital components of Sustainability, including the interaction of society, economics, and the environment, our Christian Humanist approach to the minor encourages students to explore the ethics behind sustainability and mankind's obligation to the world that we inhabit. As a result, studying Sustainability at SJC has proven to be rewarding for our students on both a personal and professional level.

The Christian Humanism principles that lie at the root of SJC's nationally accredited Core Program also serve as the basis for our Sustainability Studies minor. While our students critically examine the pillars of Sustainability (Economics, Environment, and Society) our Christian Humanist approach to the minor encourages students to explore the ethics behind sustainability and mankind's obligation to the world that we inhabit. As a result, studying Sustainability at SJC has proven to be rewarding for our students on both a personal and professional level.

Hands-on Experience

One of the main goals of our Sustainability Studies minor is for students to gain practical experience through community-based research, workplace experience, service learning, or traveling abroad. As a result, students who study Sustainability at SJC have numerous opportunities to gain hands-on experience. For example, students might choose to focus on sustainable food systems and assist in our Learning Garden or in our technologically advanced four-season hoophouse, where organic vegetables are planted, harvested, and donated to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry or sold to members of the community. Students might also participate in Harvest Fest, a weekly meal prepared by faculty and student volunteers using SJC and other locally grown produce. Or, students may choose to study and look for solutions to a global or local problem related to Sustainability, whether it is on campus, in the community, or in another country. Regardless of a student's research interests, there are plenty of experts to guide the learning process. That said, courses in Sustainability are not limited to students who are minoring in Sustainability Studies. All SJC students are welcome to participate in numerous opportunities to gain real-world experience and learn alongside the experts.

Dedication to Excellence

Because of SJC's dedicated faculty and staff and the College's commitment to Sustainability and stewardship, SJC's Sustainability Studies minor is a rapidly growing program that allows students to learn with new, innovative technology. For example, in 2012, SJC received $25,000 from the Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund to develop a "Hoophouse Farming Eduventure." Since then, our hoophouse has become a profitable business that provides healthy, organic vegetables to the Rensselaer community at affordable prices. Additionally, our faculty members received $15,000 from the Indiana Space Grant Consortium to purchase equipment and develop curriculum for students to study alongside people solving problems related to Sustainability in environmental careers. Both the College and the Sustainability Studies faculty members are committed to finding new opportunities to expand the minor and provide real-world experience.

Faculty and Class Size

The Sustainability Studies minor, while in the Earth and Space Science Department, draws from a wide range of faculty experts from all disciplines depending upon which pillar is being studied (Economics, Environment, or Society). General class sizes range from 5 to 15 students, and the experiential learning courses have fewer than 10 students.

picture of sustainability success story Margaret Pryor '88

Margaret Pryor '88

Margaret Geraghty Pryor '88 created the Bag-n-Borrow Project™ in an effort to decrease the use of plastic bags at grocery stores.

Explore the Core
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  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Like Elementary Education major Brittany Cooper ’12, you start your major as soon as you walk in the door, so you will have four years of knowledge and experience in your field.You can even change your mind about your major and still graduate on time with lots of experience.

    Core and the major work in harmony to develop the cognitive skills requisite for success in a competitive, global society. Students better understand the forces that shape the future by exploring the past. They discuss contemporary events; analyze the impact of science on our understanding of humanity and the universe; and investigate diverse cultures and world civilizations. 

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors, such as Communication Professors Fred and Sally Berger, do more for you—they serve as mentors. Studies show that having a mentor leads to success in your field. Alumni often tell us how their professors not only played a major role in their success, but also became lifelong friends.  If you are undecided about what to major in, we help you decide.

  • High Quality Academics

    In the Core Program, you will be inspired to debate, analyze, and solve problems. Discussion of culture and society, the modern world, and Christian Humanism are just a few highlights of the Program. New perspectives will be gained, your worldview will expand, and you will graduate from SJC as a well rounded, highly marketable person.

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life. LaMichelle Sanders ’14, for example, has spent two summers helping Chinese study abroad students adapt to life in the U.S. and at SJC. If you want to start a club or activity that doesn’t exist, we encourage you to start one. At SJC, prepare yourself for what you want to do in life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Because of the skills you develop by having the Core Program interact with your major for four years in addition to internships, job shadowing, and service learning, you get hands-on experience in preparation for your career or graduate school. Students Hanna Kane ’14, Emily Baird ’15, and Alyssa Guarnaccia ’14 collect food in the SJC hoophouse to be distributed on campus. You will also get four years of analytical, writing, and speaking skills that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

  • Start Your Major Freshman Year

    Get a jump start on your career and have your resume ready to go at graduation.  

  • Mentorship

    Small colleges offer you personal attention; SJC professors do more for you—they serve as mentors.

  • High Quality Academics

    The Core Program is all about you and your role in the world.

     

  • Leadership

    You get more deeply involved at SJC, so you get more meaningful experiences that prepare you for career and life.

  • Real-life Skills

    Get real-life experience and become an excellent communicator.