Green Colby

Undergraduate Research SymposiumA pioneer in academic environmental programs in the early 1970s, Colby continues its leadership in the field, offering rigorous and distinctive programs in environmental studies and environmental science. Colby also has embraced sustainability and resource conservation as core values and has garnered statewide and national recognition for those efforts. As the College approaches its bicentennial, new initiatives promise to enhance and cement Colby’s stature as a worldwide leader in environmental studies and sustainability among liberal arts colleges.

Environmental Studies Curriculum
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.

Water quality research for the class Problems in Environmental ScienceEnvironmental studies majors collaborate on research with faculty members, working in locations ranging from the on-campus arboretum to South America and Africa. Some students have used their skills to develop Geographic Information System (GIS) maps and models to support student and faculty research.

Partnership With Bigelow Laboratory
To support a new academic concentration in marine conservation, Colby recently formed a partnership with Bigelow Laboratory in Boothbay Harbor. The alliance gives Colby faculty members and students access to marine research facilities, ocean environments, and exciting new research experiences. The new track will deepen Colby’s already strong programs in environmental studies and will make Colby a leader among liberal arts colleges in marine conservation and science. Bigelow’s Executive Director Graham Shimmield said, “We essentially are going to deliver education through the lens of frontline research activity.”

President Adams signs a partnership with Bigelow LaboratoryThe partnership calls for Bigelow faculty members to teach two courses each January for the next three years and for greater opportunities for Colby students to conduct independent research mentored by Bigelow scientists. Colby professors have collaborated with Bigelow research scientists in the past, but the new partnership will result in closer collaboration and the development of a semester-away academic program at Bigelow for Colby students.

Campus green initiatives »

Support Opportunities

Endowed Faculty Chair—$2.5 million
Colby is seeking funding for a third position in sustainability science to facilitate deeper and richer interactions between environmental studies and Colby’s excellent science programs.

Marine Studies Programmatic Support—
$1 million
Colby seeks to raise $1 million in marine studies programmatic support. The new strategic partnership formed with Bigelow Laboratory will allow for collaborative research activities between Colby’s faculty and Bigelow senior research scientists and for student engagement in ocean research with laboratory, field, and research cruise experiences.

Student Internship and Research Fund—$500,000
Providing funding for student internships is vitally important to the mission of the College. Colby seeks $500,000 in endowment to support student internship opportunities in environmental studies.
Thomas Tietenberg Endowed Internship Fund Initiative »

Biomass Plant—$2 million
The centerpiece of upcoming campus sustainability efforts is a biomass steam plant that will provide Colby's heating and cooling needs in a more cost-effective and environmentally responsible way. Two new 400-horsepower boilers will burn wood chips and forest-products waste. Scheduled to be completed in 2012, the biomass plant will move the College closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2013, ahead of key competitors.

Leadership in Environmental Studies
The Diamond Professorship in Sustainable Energy Systems, established by Jennifer and Robert E. Diamond ’73 will create a focus on global and regional issues related to the environment, including energy efficiency, consumption patterns, market regulation, and energy policy. The Diamond gift also will endow a postdoctoral fellowship to broaden and deepen teaching and research of contemporary environmental issues across the Colby curriculum.

The Elizabeth ’87 and Lee Ainslie Professorship in Environmental Studies supports a faculty position in marine conservation that will allow Colby to offer a marine conservation track in environmental studies beginning in the 2011-12 academic year. Colby’s partnership with Bigelow Laboratory has opened up new internship opportunities for students in marine conservation studies and will enable students to conduct independent research with supervision from Bigelow’s senior research scientists.