Why ESG?

Geography and Philosophy


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ESG
The mission of the ESG Program is to prepare students to create sustainable communities for present and future generations.

What is Environment, Sustainability and Geography?

The Program in Geography provides a unique degree in Environment, Sustainability & Geography (ESG) emphasizing the notion of Sustainable Development.  Students will examine the environmental, social, and economic problems associated with continued economic expansion on a finite planet, and explore the many emerging solutions for transitioning to a more sustainable future.

The ESG Program provides detailed coverage of our most pressing environmental problems and their most promising sustainable solutions at local, regional and global scales.  In addition, students will explore the barriers to developing and implementing these solutions rooted in the workings of our policy -making processes.  Finally, students will have the opportunity to work directly on a wide variety of regional sustainable community development projects to truly appreciate what they have learned in the classroom, and better prepare themselves to be effective sustainable development practitioners.

Finding a focus?

Your college experience is a journey, and what might be right for you, may not be right for others.  While some of your classmates know precisely their path for the next four years, you may still have questions. That's okay! Our program is designed to allow you the flexibility to discover what drives you through a core curriculum that highlights the interconnectedness of human and natural systems. From there, you will focus in one of three areas (environment and sustainability, geography, or urban and regional studies), where you will dive fully into determining how it relates to sustainability of our built and natural world. 

The Environment & Sustainability track emphasizes the ecological and societal dimensions of sustainability, specifically, the food-energy- water nexus. In this track, students develop the skills to create solutions that meet material human needs while preserving natural resources and ecosystems.

The Urban & Regional Studies track  emphasizes the social and cultural dimensions of urbanization, addressing how our increasingly urban world can organize in just and cohesive societies.

The Geography track emphasizes a holistic and spatial approach to both human and physical systems. In this track students explore how humans transform the earth, with an emphasis on three broad streams of geographic thought: human systems, physical systems, and human – environment interaction.


How do I know if ESG is right for you?

Are you concerned about the environment? Addressing climate change? Are you looking for an applied degree that is focused on sustainability? Are you concerned about social and environmental justice and equity in our society? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then ESG is the degree for you! 

What type of student are we looking for?

We seek students who are creative, inquisitive, ambitious and, most importantly, interested in the world around them.  Many of our students enjoy spending time in the outdoors, while others are interested in cities and urban environments.  What they have in common is an interest in thinking about how much they affect environments and how choices today affect future generations.  In order to provide the opportunity for real-world applications of skills learned in the classroom, our students do internships at local organizations, from urban planning agencies to environmental firms. 

Why choose ESG?

1. Small classes with committed faculty

2. Chances to get out of the classroom ("muddy boots geography")

3. Coursework that focuses on marketable skills

4. Integration of human and physical sciences

5. Engaging and hands-on classes

6. Opportunities for internships

7. Application of cutting-edge technology such as GIS

8. Community engagement focus

What do our majors do after graduation?

Upon graduation our majors have highly marketable skills that are attractive to a variety of employers and graduate schools.  Many of students go on to further their careers with additional training at the Master's and Ph.D. level, exploring both basic and applied research in geography, urban planning, international studies, economics, law, and geospatial sciences.  Other students find that entering the workplace is the path for them, finding employment as sustainability coordinators, community organizers, agricultural specialists, environmental mangers an advocates, water resource specialists, urban planners, and GIS professionals.