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We are at a pivotal moment in our social and ecological history. The most pressing environmental challenges today are global in scale and require scientific, creative, and systems thinking to understand their root causes and forge more just and equitable solutions. This semester program gives students the opportunity to learn the science behind key environmental issues, explore the intersections between social and environmental justice, and participate in public policy and community–based strategies to achieve sustainability. Rather than simply outlining the vast challenges we face, this program gives students meaningful ways to translate what they are learning into hopeful practice and to find their place in a vibrant mosaic of local actors working to build more resilient and just communities and systems.
In the land of lakes and rivers, Minneapolis and St. Paul are built within a rich natural landscape that is home to one of the most active networks of environmental organizations in the country. Students also participate in internships and in a grant funded community based research project. This program takes an integrated approach to environmental issues, addressing the linkages between rural and urban concerns as well as the way local decisions relate to regional and global trends. Topics include climate change, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, land use management and watershed protection, industrial pollution, alternative energy, and social movements.
Environmental problems are commonly viewed as technical problems. However, the most difficult and enduring challenges are social and institutional. This dynamic investigation unfolds within a complex urban setting where questions of equity, justice and sustainability lead students to discover careers, life directions and new ways of knowing.
The program includes field experiences that focus on basic ecosystem evaluation. Short trips throughout the semester offer opportunities to integrate theory and practice. As part of the field methods course, students carry out on-the-ground research as part of a community-based project. HECUA also designs an internship experience for all students that meets personal learning goals and connects program themes. Extraordinary mentors in the environmental arena lead students to participate in meaningful work during the internship portion of the program.
For students in need of housing, space is available at a residential hall at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. The cost is $1,400 per academic term. For information, including student eligibility, deadlines, and the application itself, visit HECUA's Housing Program.