Environmental Studies Launches New Sustainable Energy Track Within ENVS Minor

Dartmouth students now have a new option to deepen their engagement with and understanding of energy and society with the Sustainable Energy Track in the Environmental Studies Minor. 

The track, open to students from all majors, will provide a multidisciplinary course of study, grounded in environmental and social sustainability, that will prepare students to foster transitions toward energy futures that are both more just and more environmentally responsible.  

Dr. Douglas Bolger, Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Department, anticipates a strong student interest in the new offering. "The new Sustainable Energy track in the ENVS minor should find an eager audience among our students. Given the associated carbon emissions, as well as other associated pollutants, many Environmental Studies students are very interested in energy, both from the perspective of the environmental impact of our current energy mix and the science, policy, and economics behind a transition to a more sustainable energy future. The track provides an effective way for students to pursue these interests and facilitates further collaboration between ENVS and our students and the Irving Institute."  

Dr. Elizabeth Wilson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Irving Institute, also sees an appetite for this area of study from Dartmouth students. "We know how passionate students are around issues of climate and clean energy," she said. "This generation of students has been learning about climate and climate change since they were in second grade. Options like the Sustainable Energy Track will help them understand the challenges and opportunities that energy creates for our world and give them some tools and ideas to help bring the world to a different place." 

Henrik Thorsby '23, the first Dartmouth student to officially enroll in the minor, explains that, "After taking ENVS12: Energy and the Environment with Professor Wilson last winter, my eyes opened for the opportunities in the energy sector and the importance of transformation towards sustainable energy. When the Sustainable Energy Track was launched, it was a must for me to apply for it. I have been looking for energy classes to take, and the track informed me of classes that I didn't know of before."

Dr. Amanda Graham, Irving Institute Academic Director, collaborated closely with the Environmental Studies Department in developing the track. "My role was to listen and learn from students and young alumni about their interests in this area, to review where Dartmouth is strong, and to craft a curriculum that provides a robust multidisciplinary background in the challenges and opportunities in energy and society." 

In addition to traditional coursework,  Dr. Graham continues, "We really wanted to include an experiential component, so I'm thrilled that the curriculum includes a course from the Russia/Energy/Government FSP as well as project-based courses where the project focuses on energy.  I'm also really pleased that the curriculum includes a climate change component, since this is a huge driver for transforming our energy systems and having a solid appreciation for climate change really is a prerequisite for pursuing energy studies with passion and conviction."

You can learn more about the requirements and other information related to the Environmental Studies Minor: Sustainable Energy Track here