UMass Amherst launches School of Earth as sustainability hub

The School of Earth and Sustainability was ranked among the Princeton Review's Top 50 Green Colleges in 2015. | File photo

The University of Massachusetts Amherst approved a new School of Earth and Sustainability (SES) April 13 to foster learning, research and outreach activities geared towards addressing global stewardship challenges that lie ahead for our society.

In an innovative joint venture among its existing departments of environmental conservation, geosciences and agriculture, the new program coordinates a total of 18 undergraduate and five graduate programs to examine earth and climate sciences, renewable energy, sustainable habitats and policy.

“Our innovative SES community of students and faculty are passionate about making a big difference in the world, and are committed to finding sustainable solutions for meeting the needs of people today without compromising future generations,” SES founding director Curt Griffin said.

Griffin expressed high expectations for the new program, noting that the larger context of its relevance is already apparent on campus with many green initiatives in place, from recycling and composting to alternative transportation. Additionally, SES is the first program of its type in New England, with 300 courses linked to sustainability.

“With this new partnership, we have the largest and most diverse set of earth, environmental and sustainability sciences programs across all public and private universities in the region. SES — in concert with our diverse partners — has the capacity to make UMass Amherst the destination of choice for students interested in sustainability and the environment,” Griffin said.

The School of Earth and Sustainability was ranked among the Princeton Review's Top 50 Green Colleges in 2015 and holds a STARS Gold designation from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

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