As the world continues to come to grips with the effects of climate change, the need for an academic approach to environmental issues is apparent. Acknowledging this reality, the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black commends the university’s decision to make environmental studies majors available to students beginning Fall 2020. It indicates a readiness to begin grooming a generation of passionate students willing to combat climate change’s impacts on our world.
While we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how the future will be defined by issues of climate change, it is never too early to begin educating students on sustainability so they can emerge as leaders in this ever-changing and undefined field. Not only does the addition of these majors reflect the university’s recognition of sustainability and environmental studies as legitimate academic disciplines, but it also provides students with an opportunity to explore these issues more deeply than they could in electives or extracurricular activities related to sustainability.
Over the past decade, the university has made strides in its efforts to educate students on climate change and the importance of sustainability. Many of these efforts were sparked by the creation of the Office of Sustainability in 2009. Since then, the office has created various initiatives to further promote sustainable practices on campus and educate students on issues surrounding climate change.
The addition of these majors also demonstrates an expansion of what the college has previously considered to be part of the sciences. While the university has actively and publicly invested in STEM-related programs, such as the relatively new engineering major and Wake Downtown, this is an importance step in continuing to prop up sustainability as a noble and necessary area of study.
While the university has had an established environmental science minor for some time, the creation of B.A.s in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and Environmental Science solidifies the university’s dedication to this necessary intellectual pursuit.
The Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black is hopeful that this major will continue to grow, both in its endeavors and size. Now more than ever, it is crucial for instiutions like Wake Forest to continue validating environmental studies as valuable, innovative and integral to a college curriculum.