Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 61.98
Liaison Michael Amadori
Submission Date March 2, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
AC-3: Undergraduate Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Michael Amadori
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one sustainability-focused major, degree program, or the equivalent for undergraduate students (I.e. an interdisciplinary academic program that concentrates on sustainability as an integrated concept)?:
Yes

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate degree program:
Environmental Studies

A brief description of the undergraduate degree program:

Earth’s environment is maintained through complex feedback mechanisms which, over geologic time, have created an environment replete with myriad life forms and incredible biological, geological, and cultural diversity. Humans have always affected their environment, but since industrialization, the nature and scope of human impact has increased dramatically.

Our current use of natural resources is spiraling due to consumption-based economies and increasing demand by humans for necessities such as food and fresh water. Due largely to the destruction of the tropical rain forests, we appear to be losing species at a rate that equals or exceeds anything in the earth’s history. Human activities have led to widespread air, water, and soil pollution, and set in motion long-term and troubling changes in our climate, new extinctions, unsustainable patterns of resource extraction and waste creation. Poverty and racism further exacerbate resource access disparities and threaten the livelihoods and survival of many humans around the world.

Environmental concerns will be with us for generations as we work toward a more sustainable way of life. The Environmental Studies program structures a liberal arts education around these concerns and prepares students for entry-level positions, as well as graduate study, in fields related to environment and sustainability. The program offers an interdisciplinary major and minor combining study in the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The natural sciences offer an understanding of how the environment works and how human activities affect it. The social sciences consider the social and political implications of environmental policy and the economic tradeoffs involved. The humanities offer an understanding of the concepts and values that shape our perception of, and interaction with, the environment. These approaches are combined explicitly in our introductory integrative course and the senior integrative experience. Program faculty and graduates highly recommend two majors: a major in Environmental Studies that provides a breadth of understanding of a wide array of environmental issues, along with a disciplinary major that brings depth and focus to the study of those issues.


The website URL for the undergraduate degree program:
Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
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A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
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The website URL for the undergraduate degree program (2nd program):
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Name of the sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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A brief description of the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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The website URL for the undergraduate degree program (3rd program):
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The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused, undergraduate degree program(s):
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Does the institution offer one or more sustainability-focused minors, concentrations or certificates for undergraduate students?:
Yes

Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:
Environmental Studies minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:

Earth’s environment is maintained through complex feedback mechanisms which, over geologic time, have created an environment replete with myriad life forms and incredible biological, geological, and cultural diversity. Humans have always affected their environment, but since industrialization, the nature and scope of human impact has increased dramatically.

Our current use of natural resources is spiraling due to consumption-based economies and increasing demand by humans for necessities such as food and fresh water. Due largely to the destruction of the tropical rain forests, we appear to be losing species at a rate that equals or exceeds anything in the earth’s history. Human activities have led to widespread air, water, and soil pollution, and set in motion long-term and troubling changes in our climate, new extinctions, unsustainable patterns of resource extraction and waste creation. Poverty and racism further exacerbate resource access disparities and threaten the livelihoods and survival of many humans around the world.

Environmental concerns will be with us for generations as we work toward a more sustainable way of life. The Environmental Studies program structures a liberal arts education around these concerns and prepares students for entry-level positions, as well as graduate study, in fields related to environment and sustainability. The program offers an interdisciplinary major and minor combining study in the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. The natural sciences offer an understanding of how the environment works and how human activities affect it. The social sciences consider the social and political implications of environmental policy and the economic tradeoffs involved. The humanities offer an understanding of the concepts and values that shape our perception of, and interaction with, the environment. These approaches are combined explicitly in our introductory integrative course and the senior integrative experience. Program faculty and graduates highly recommend two majors: a major in Environmental Studies that provides a breadth of understanding of a wide array of environmental issues, along with a disciplinary major that brings depth and focus to the study of those issues.


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate:
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Sustainable Community Development minor

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):

Sustainable Community Development is an interdisciplinary program that leverages existing strengths in the departments of environmental studies, architectural studies, economics, biology as well as the Finger Lakes Institute, HWS Office of Sustainability, and the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. One of the main goals of this innovative curricular program is to help undergraduates build real world skills while assisting the Finger Lakes region in becoming more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. For instance, students in the Sustainable Community Development Planning and Methods capstone course worked on a collaborative project to assess and revitalize a former brownfield site in the East Lakeview neighborhood of Geneva, N.Y. The students engaged neighbors and a wider group of community members from the East Lakeview Neighborhood Association throughout the semester. In smaller teams, the students studied different aspects of the site to understand the neighborhood context. After phases of site analysis, listening sessions, and preliminary design ideas, the students produced detailed design proposals to convert the brownfield property into an active park and recreation center with many sustainable features for consideration by the East Lakeview Neighborhood Association.

The Finger Lakes Community Development Center (FLCDC) is the major co-curricular arm of the Sustainable Community Development program and is based at the Finger Lakes Institute. The FLCDC connects Finger Lakes communities seeking sustainable approaches to issues with well-prepared students and faculty and staff members who actively study, research, and present alternatives. Some of our activities include research and analysis on behalf of municipalities, community leaders, agencies, and organizations regarding community sustainability strategies; green business and infrastructure development; guidance for sustainable practices in tourism, food systems, and urban area management; regional environmental resilience planning; conservation and renewable energy issues; and land use policy guidelines to meet pressures for growth while preserving the desired atmosphere.


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (2nd program):
Name of the sustainability-focused undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):
Asian Environmental Studies Initiative

A brief description of the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):

The Asian Environmental Studies (AES) Initiative at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. The initiative builds on existing institutional strengths at HWS in Environmental Studies and Asian Studies, and seeks to infuse East Asia in a meaningful and substantive manner into teaching and research on human-environment relations at HWS. The initiative also seeks to catalyze AES work across the liberal arts community through curriculum workshops, collaborative research and teaching, symposia, study abroad, and other programs. As part of the ASE initiative, HWS hosts the biennial “Half the World Symposium,” which highlights scholars (including graduate students) work who examine any aspect of human-environment interactions in East Asia (including Southeast and Northeast Asia).


The website URL for the undergraduate minor, concentration or certificate (3rd program):
The name and website URLs of all other sustainability-focused undergraduate minors, concentrations and certificates:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The Asian Environmental Studies initiative includes several HWS courses, including ARTH 302: Arts of the Landscape and the Garden in China and Japan, ENV215/ASN 215: Environment and Development in East Asia, “ENV 234/ASN 234: Sustainable China, ENV 330: Sustainability, Commodities, and Consumption, ENV 340/ASN 340: Water and Energy in China.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.