UMass Amherst Establishes New School of Earth and Sustainability

Spring on campus
Spring on campus

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has established a new School of Earth and Sustainability (SES), which will serve as a central hub for a suite of academic programs, research, innovation, outreach and extension activities focused on finding solutions to the complex, global environmental challenges of the 21st century.

The school was approved by the UMass Board of Trustees on April 13.

A partnership between the university’s department of environmental conservation, department of geosciences and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture within the College of Natural Sciences, the school brings together 18 undergraduate programs and five graduate programs. Faculty associated with SES conduct research on conservation, sustainable agriculture, earth sciences, environmental geography, renewable energy, sustainable building and design, climate sciences, environmental policy and decision-making, and sustainability.

Professor Curt Griffin, the founding director of SES, says the structure of the school will create an engaging academic environment for students, faculty, staff and the community.     

“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,” he says.

Griffin says SES showcases the campus’ significant strengths in earth, sustainability and environmental sciences, while also strengthening collaboration with partners across campus and beyond the university. The school is also unique in New England, he adds.

“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.”

The School of Earth and Sustainability adds to the robust sustainability-related opportunities available at UMass Amherst. The university not only offers 300 courses related to sustainability, it also has a variety of green initiatives on campus including energy reduction, the sourcing of sustainable and local foods, composting, clothing and furniture reuse, and the promotion of alternative transportation. UMass Amherst holds a STARS Gold designation from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and ranked among Top 50 Green Colleges by Princeton Review in 2015.

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