Green Initiatives at Colby

Academic Programs
Poster presentationsColby was a pioneer in the introduction of environmental programs in the early 1970s and continues its environmental leadership, offering rigorous and distinctive academic programs. The number of majors in the Environmental Studies Program grew from five in 1995 to approximately 80 in 2008. Projects undertaken by students in the ES program have provided much of the momentum for sustainability initiatives that make Colby a green leader. The Diamond Building provided a new home for the program in 2007, including a state of the art GIS lab. Besides the majors in environmental studies, Colby offers  a minor in environmental studies and majors in biology and chemistry with concentrations in environmental science.

  • Environmental Studies: Policy
  • Environmental Studies: Science
  • Environmental Studies: Interdisciplinary Computation
  • Biology: Evolution and Ecology 
  • Chemistry: Environmental Science

  • Environmental Studies

Belgrade Lakes Watershed Sustainability Project
A consortium including seven faculty members and more than a dozen student researchers each year is working to understand the impact of landscape and lake-ecosystem changes in the Belgrade Lakes region. The region provides a unique laboratory to understand the complex dynamics of environmental, biogeochemical, and socioeconomic systems. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation through a Maine EPSCoR grant. (See video from fall 2010.)
Capstone Courses
Problems in Environmental Science, a capstone course for ES majors, assigns students as a consulting team to do original research on water quality in central Maine lakes. Students work with the state Department of Environmental Protection and present their research in forums on and off campus. Students in the Environmental Policy Practicum develop a report for The State of Maine: An Environmental Assessment.
Student Involvement
Students at Colby serve as recycling coordinators and in other paid part-time positions that promote sustainability. Students are involved in coursework, independent study, and research, and new students discuss sustainability during orientation. Students and college-supported student-run organizations have been instrumental in initiating many policy changes promoting sustainability and conservation over the years.
Student-Faculty Research
Environmental studies majors collaborate on research with faculty members, working in locations ranging from the on-campus arboretum to South America and Africa. Others students have used their skills to develop geographic information system (GIS) maps and models to support faculty research.
Teaching ES
Colby’s Environmental Studies Program employs a project-based approach to learning that immerses students in research and analysis. This use of research, the introductory course Environment and Society, and the capstone Problems in Environmental Science course all are national models. Curricular innovations include a focus on environmental justice and the addition of courses titled The Environment and Human Health and Environmental Activism. Colby is a founding partner in the Center for Sustainable Development Studies in Costa Rica.
Last Updated: 4/15/11 11:34 AM