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NDNU To Offer Environmental Justice Minor Beginning Fall 2010

Belmont, CA, June 2, 2010 — Notre Dame De Namur University will offer an environmental justice minor beginning fall 2010, in response to growing interest in the field among current and prospective students. The minor was proposed and created in collaboration by the Department of Natural Sciences and the Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement (DSC).

NDNU has experienced a growing demand for courses in environmental justice among incoming students, and while no formal program has existed prior to this, some students have been allowed to design interdisciplinary majors in environmental justice. The new minor is also reflects the increased national and global emphasis on environmental sustainability/justice, and the creation of new employment opportunities in those fields.

“Many of our students are focused on environmental justice, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for them to cultivate their passion,” said Gretchen Wehrle, director of the Dorothy Stang Faculty Scholars Program. “The minor will integrate environmental studies with social justice, and examine the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes, regarding the development of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

The interdisciplinary program was created primarily from existing courses and will integrate community based learning, laboratory/field work, and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) into required courses. Students completing an environmental justice minor will be better equipped to participate as global citizens, and will be eligible for careers in government and nonprofit organizations dealing with environmental issues.

Students completing the minor are required to take 18-20 units within the environmental justice program. Courses include Contemporary Environmental Issues; Environmental History/Environmental Justice; Economics of Environment; Nutrition/Health in Developing Countries; and Animals, People, and the Environment.