School of Environmental Sustainability drives teaching and research
At a University known for its expertise in all things green, the School of Global Environmental Sustainability recently marked its first decade as a leader of academic programs meant to spark urgently needed solutions in the face of climate change and a booming human population.
Known as SoGES, the school drives and integrates sustainability teaching, research, and public engagement, drawing on the ideas of 125 affiliate faculty members in wide-ranging disciplines.
The school’s founding director is one of Colorado State’s eminent scientists: Diana Wall, a University Distinguished Professor. Best known for her soil ecology research in Antarctica, Wall studies populations of underground microscopic creatures as indicators of soil biodiversity and broad environmental health.
Among its teaching efforts, SoGES offers an interdisciplinary minor in global environmental sustainability, which students may pair with virtually any academic major. About 300 students, with six dozen different majors, are enrolled. Ahead, school leaders hope to offer an undergraduate major in global environmental sustainability.
To stimulate discoveries, SoGES provides seed funding for scientific teams that dive into complex global challenges from a variety of perspectives, with the goal of unearthing important new research opportunities.
SoGES also hosts events to connect the public with sustainability science, and it doesn’t shy from hot-button issues of the day. As Peter Backlund, the school’s associate director, noted: “Environmental sustainability is a societal issue. How do we think about the world, how do we frame questions, how do we talk about sustainability and communicate about it?”