Academic Sustainability Program

From a purely practical standpoint, I declared the Sustainability Studies minor because I knew that the world was headed in the direction of prioritizing sustainability and I wanted to be a competitive graduate school and job candidate when I graduated. On a personal level, I love the dynamic challenges sustainability addresses and I wanted more exposure to the innovative solutions being developed globally to tackle multi-faceted problems.

--Hollen Terry, Global Studies '21

Problems of environmental degradation, social justice, and economic inequality have never been more pressing, and the demand for people with the determination and skills to address them has never been greater. Employers in all fields seek to hire Auburn graduates who understand the complexities of the world’s challenges, who think outside the box, and who can find innovative, sustainable solutions to those challenges. Billions of dollars are invested annually in green technology, renewable energy, green jobs, and ethical business solutions around the world.

With a diverse selection of 90+ courses and study abroad programs, the interdisciplinary minor in sustainability studies offers students the opportunity to gain wide-ranging expertise and hands-on experience with the most crucial issues in contemporary society.

I've turned my interest in sustainability into a sort of passion. I want it to factor into everything I do.

-- Sammie Brown, Environmental Design '21

A few benefits of the Sustainability Studies minor:

"I declared a minor in sustainability studies in order broaden my understanding of managing natural resources in connections with human dimensions, the urban world, and on a larger scale. Sustainability is so much more than being environmentally friendly, but rather a complex web of issues from interactions with humans, their environment, and each other."

-- Matthew Manning, Natural Resources Management '21

Sustainability Studies students come from a wide variety of majors, and courses in the minor run the gamut from engineering and biology to history and philosophy. The minor trains students to view the world through multiple disciplinary lenses, and to bring those perspectives together in search of creative solutions to contemporary challenges.

Ultimately, my dream is to help establish PT schools in countries that don't currently have access to that type of healthcare. I'll take what I have learned from my sustainability minor so that I can best know how to help without hurting and leaving those places better than I found them.

-- Caroline Cook, Exercise Science '21

Sustainability students care about the world around them, on both a global and a local scale. Courses in the minor help them to identify, evaluate, and implement ways they can make a positive difference for themselves, their communities, and the world.

I declared a Sustainability Studies minor because I wanted to show future schools and employers that I don't just say I care about sustainability, but I pursued it on a deeper level, to understand and gain knowledge.

-- Kathleen Feuerborn, Environmental Design '21

Courses in the minor emphasize a wide range of skills and knowledge that are sought after by employers, including interdisciplinary and systems thinking, creative problem-solving, and hands-on experience. A minor in Sustainability Studies signals to employers that you have specialized expertise in and commitment to questions of economic, environmental, and social viability. Recent graduates have gone on to prestigious graduate programs and found employment in a wide range of fields including interior design, environmental services, land and water management, engineering, business, consulting, and the public and nonprofit sectors.

Get your hands dirty working in a community garden; wade into rivers and ponds to collect samples; explore local parks and forests to learn about Alabama’s flora, fauna, and natural resources; mentor children from the local community. For many of your Sustainability-affiliated courses, the woods, streams, gardens, and neighborhoods of Auburn and its surrounding communities will be your classrooms. Affiliated study abroad programs in Fiji, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Costa Rica, and beyond let you earn credit towards the minor while you explore the world.

"I think about what the more sustainable option is for nearly every choice I make, from the products I buy to how I'm getting from one place to another." -- Evanthi Hettiaratchi '22, Environmental Design

Sustainability Studies minors find the lessons they learn in the classroom permeate every aspect of their lives, from consumption patterns and diet to self-care and personal relationships. Sustainability's systems-thinking and interdisciplinarity push students to consider multiple perspectives and the ramifications of their actions, while an expanded awareness of the impacts of individual actions empowers them to make informed choices on a daily basis.

More questions about the Sustainability Studies Minor?

Read about what other students have to say about the program in our Student Spotlights.

For advising on the minor, contact the CLA Advisor for Sustainability, Ross Blair.

For questions about the program, contact the Director of the Academic Sustainability Program, Dr. Sarah Hamilton.

Students examining fruit.

Last modified: May 26, 2021