Environmental Conversations ("EnCon") is a learning community organized around regular elective and required courses, open to incoming first-year students, and focused on questions of environmental policy, science, and values. Through courses and co-curricular opportunities, EnCon prepares students to think about moral, scientific, and practical dimensions of human relationships with the rest of nature. EnCon is a three course sequence. In the fall and spring, students complete two regular requirements of the first-year curriculum: Religion 121 and Writing 111. EnCon sections of these courses focus specifically on environmental themes. In the Interim, students take ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies. EnCon students engage in student-led sustainability initiatives, and learn about environmental questions and opportunities facing the college - from the student-run farm "StoGrow," to the college wind turbine. They become part of a larger community of students who seek to think clearly and responsibly about environmental policy, sustainability, and "the moral ecology of everyday life."
Admission to the Program
Students apply to EnCon after they are admitted to the college. Each year about 38 first-year students are admitted to the program. In the fall and spring this cohort divides in two different sections of 19 students each to take Religion 121 or Writing 111. In the Interim, they come together as a cohort to take ENVST 137. EnCon is open to students of all interests, and provides an appropriate foundation for any major at the college.
Course Equivalents for General Education Requirements
By successfully completing EnCon, students fulfill the following GE requirements:
Biblical and Theological Studies - Bible (BTS-B)
First-Year Writing (FYW)
Integrated Scientific Topics (IST)
REL 121 Bible in Culture and Community
Typical section topics for Religion 121 are:
- "Land, Food, and Justice in Biblical Tradition"
- "The Bible and the Idea of Nature"
- "Word and Water"
WRIT 111 First-Year Writing
Typical section topics for Writing 111 are:
- "Doing Democracy: The Politics of Food"
- "Nature's Mysteries: Insights, Impacts and Inspirations in the Backyard"
- "The Nature of Nature Writing"
- “Living in the Anthropocene”
“Climate Fiction, Social Critique, and Our Imagined Future”
ENVST 137 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Assistant Professor of Religion and Environmental Studies
Peder J. Jothen
Assistant Professor of Religion
Anthony D. Lott
Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies
international law; international relations; international security
Jeremy (Sequoia) Nagamatsu
Assistant Professor of English
fiction; creative nonfiction
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
creative writing; contemporary American poetics; hybrid literature; environmental literature