Environmental Science and Sustainability

Allegheny College Student Honored with Statewide John Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award

Two Allegheny College students will be recognized by the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium as 2021 Campus Sustainability Champions.

Read more About Two Allegheny Students to Be Honored for Environmental Sustainability Work

ESS Newsletters

Environmental Science is the study of the interrelationship between human activities and the environment. We examine effects of human actions on the environment, and the means by which policies, regulations, and decisions influence human actions. We also study human behavioral, cultural, and sociological interactions that affect the environment.

As an Environmental Science and Sustainability major, you will acquire the skills necessary to positively impact both the natural world and the humans who call it home.

Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability (ESS)
at Allegheny College where our mission is to educate the next generation
of leaders in environmental sustainability.  Within the department, our definition of the environment is broad: forests and cities, people and wildlife, indoors and outdoors.  Our environment is the place where we live, learn and work.  We believe that in order to be agents of change for the environment we must be critical thinkers who understand the complexities and intricacies of an issue.
For every environmental issue there are historical, political and economic drivers; people and cultures impacted; and scientific data and phenomena that must be researched and understood.  In our courses, you will learn to make change by tackling real world issues on our campus, within our community, and throughout our world.  In the recent past, our students have worked to reduce bottled water use on campus, assisted local foresters in sustainably managing land and worked directly with activists in the country of Georgia to assess the impacts of dam construction.  And that is just a sampling of the work happening within our department during a semester.  You will graduate with at least three research projects during your time in our department, and most students graduate with more.

Additionally, we encourage all students to take some time to learn outside of the classroom through internships, independent studies, research, and study away.  On campus, we currently offer internships focused on campus sustainability, environmental education, Meadville community sustainability, and sustainable agriculture and food.  Students interested in research may work with faculty during the school year or summer break to complete a variety of projects.  Many of our students study away at college approved programs such as the Arava Institute in Israel, Lancaster University in England, James Cook University in Australia, and School for Field Studies in Costa Rica.  Once arriving within the department, you will work closely with an advisor to determine if one of these experiences is right for you, or if perhaps there is a better opportunity closer to home or in another country.

While on campus, your environment will be our beautiful, Carbon neutral campus. Allegheny reached Carbon neutrality in 2020.  We were the 1st in Pennsylvania and the 8th in the nation to reach this goal, making sustainability a core mission of the college, not just the department.  Environmental Science and Sustainability students were integral in tackling the issues that allowed us to reach this milestone.  Our work is not complete though, and we are currently making strides to become Carbon negative.   

If you’d like to learn more about how our department can help you become a future leader in sustainability, please e-mail, call or come visit.  We would love to meet you!

Beth Ann Choate
Chair & Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability