Tag Archive for College of the Environment

Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment Is Established

Trustees and advisors of the Robert F. Schumann Foundation were on campus July 26 to celebrate the establishment of the new Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment with a $2.5 million grant to Wesleyan. The institute is named for the late Robert F. Schumann ’44. Pictured, at left, Timothy Crowley, Robert F. Schumann Foundation Trustee; Barry Chernoff, director of the College of the Environment; Schumann’s sons Ford Schumann and David Schumann; Marc Eisner, dean of the Social Sciences Division; and Joe Knee, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division.

The Robert F. Schumann [’44] Foundation has given Wesleyan $2.5 million to establish the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment (COE). The Institute will integrate approaches to learning, research and communication about environmental issues in ways that extend the COE’s educational programs within and beyond Wesleyan.

The Schumann Institute will provide students with life-changing experiences that will develop their abilities to address environmental issues. In order to achieve these goals the Institute will collaborate with or stimulate programs in global studies, civic engagement, arts, environmental (in)justice and sustainability and food security and agriculture.

Barry Chernoff, at left, thanks Ford Schumann, center, and David Schumann, for their father's gift to Wesleyan.

Barry Chernoff thanks Ford Schumann and David Schumann, who are the Robert F. Schumann Foundation advisors.

“I’m so pleased that Bob Schumann’s vision of engaging broader communities in environmental work will now be anchored in the Schumann Institute,” said Barry Chernoff, director of the COE and Robert F. Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. “I could not think of a more appropriate legacy for Bob, who was deeply devoted to environmental education and to Wesleyan.”

The Institute will emphasize project-based learning, with courses where students participate in faculty-led research teams. It will provide students with internship opportunities, working with specialists outside Wesleyan. Students will also be able to take new courses in food security that integrate research on the two-acre Long Lane Farm. Furthermore, the Institute’s program will develop the arts as an instrument of engagement, sustainability and communication.

“Bob’s generous financial commitment almost two decades ago

Baileys Support Groundbreaking Approach to Environmental Studies

On April 7, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 visited the College of Letters.

Essel Bailey ’66 and his wife, Menakka, visited the College of the Environment on April 7.

Essel Bailey ’66 believes that science is the foundation for addressing questions of environmental policy, which aptly describes the purpose of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment. Now, he and his wife, Menakka, have increased their support of the COE with a new $4 million commitment to its programs, faculty and students – bringing their total gift to the COE to $7.5 million.

In part, their endowment gift will fund a multi-pronged effort to extend the work and themes of the Menakka and Essel Bailey Think Tank throughout the campus, explained Barry Chernoff, chair of the COE and the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. Chernoff is planning for seminars, workshops and faculty-student research grants as means for engaging the wider community in Think Tank themes, such as next year’s topic – Disruptions to Disasters: Confronting the Human-Environmental Relationship. The fund also supports a Distinguished Visiting Scholar, a position currently held by Professor Henry Adams of Case Western University.

“Wesleyan is committed to graduating informed citizens who will become involved in a broad range of environmental practices and policy-making,” said President Michael Roth ’78. “We are so grateful to Essel and Menakka for their sustained support of the College of the Environment and its curricular initiatives. They have helped the College achieve its mission with distinction.”

Wesleyan Faculty, Students March for Science

Professor Laura Grabel, pictured sixth from left, attended the March for Science in New Haven, Conn.

Professor Laura Grabel, pictured sixth from left, attended the March for Science in New Haven, Conn.

Numerous Wesleyan faculty and students in the sciences attended the March for Science in different parts of the state and country on Earth Day, April 22.

Laura Grabel, the Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, spoke at the New Haven march.

“I decided to march because science is being seriously threatened by the Trump administration,” she explained. “Trump has not filled almost all of the science positions, has no science advisor, and is using little evidence-based thinking in his decision making. Some of his appointments are puzzling and scary. From my perspective as a stem cell scientist, appointing Tom Price, who has consistently opposed embryonic stem cell research, as head of Health and Human Services presents a real danger to the future of this work just as therapies are entering clinical trials.”

Wesleyan Students Partner with City Water, Sewer Workers for Unique Show

Juliana Castro '19, Michael Edwards '16, and Melissa Leung '16 are among the students who have been working with the city's Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 9. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

Juliana Castro ’19, Michael Edwards ’16, and Melissa Leung ’16 are among the students who have been working with the city’s Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

This spring, Allison Orr, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, is leading a group of Wesleyan students in partnering with the city of Middletown’s Water and Sewer Department to develop a unique performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. The performance starts at noon at Harbor Park.

Allison Orr

Allison Orr

According to this story in The Middletown Press, Orr has long used “her choreography talent to expose the work of those who would otherwise go unnoticed.” She is the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, and is known for “Trash Dance,” a 2012 documentary film that explored the work of the Austin, Texas Sanitation Department.

“What I do is I embed myself within these groups of employees over a period of time,” Orr said. “I convince them to come along with me and we create together performances that educate people about the work.”

Under her direction, eight Wesleyan students “joined” the city’s water department. Since February, they have been collecting interviews, shadowing employees and studying their movements to create a performance based on the workers’ daily lives, and raise awareness about how they keep Middletown’s waterfront clean.

For Gretchen LaMotte ’18, this performance is not only a way to bridge a gap between the Wesleyan community and Middletown, but is also an opportunity for her to bring the Water and Sewer Department’s work to the forefront.

“All of this is invisible work that is supporting the infrastructure of our daily lives. I’m excited about this performance because hopefully it will make that work more visible,” LaMotte said.

In March, Orr also taught movement classes to students at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

Weiner ’15 Studies Urban Agriculture, Community for Thesis

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner '15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture."

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner ’15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

#THISISWHY
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Kate Weiner from the Class of 2015. Weiner is an anthropology and environmental studies major.

Q: Can you describe your thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture”?

A: My thesis is an exploration of how community, identity and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces, with my hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serving as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics and environmental studies, the intention of my thesis is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture.

Q: How did you choose your thesis topic?

A: Arriving at my thesis subject was several years in the making. Throughout the summer of 2013, I photographed female urban farmers along the Eastern Seaboard

Earth Month Activities Include Speakers, Films

Lynda Nead of the University of London will speak April 14 on "The Tiger in the Smoke: The Aesthetics of Fog in Post-War Britain c. 1945-55" as part of a series of Earth Month events at Wesleyan.

Lynda Nead of the University of London will speak April 14 on “The Tiger in the Smoke: The Aesthetics of Fog in Post-War Britain c. 1945-55” as part of a series of Earth Month events at Wesleyan.

In honor of Earth Month, Wesleyan will host a series of speakers and films beginning April 14.

At 4:15 p.m. on April 14, the College of the Environment will present a talk, “The Tiger in the Smoke: The Aesthetics of Fog in Post-War Britain c. 1945-55,” by Lynda Nead, the Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. The talk will be in 41 Wyllys, Room 112. It is cosponsored by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life; the Mellon Fund for Lectures in Ethics, Politics and Social Issues; Art History; History; and the Science in Society Program. The event is free and open to the public.

COE Graduates May be Admitted to Vermont Law School through New Partnership

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont's Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth signed an agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School that guarantees admission for College of the Environment graduates meeting GPA and LSAT thresholds into Vermont’s Environmental Law Program. At left, Sonia Mañjon, vice president for institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer, and at right, Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment, accompanied President Roth at the signing on April 3.

Thanks to a new partnership, graduates from Wesleyan’s College of the Environment who meet certain academic standards will be guaranteed admission to Vermont Law School’s prestigious JD (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Law), JD/master’s or master’s degree programs. Vermont’s Environmental Law Program, the largest in the country, is widely considered to be one of the best environmental law programs in the United States.

President Michael S. Roth signed the agreement between Wesleyan and Vermont Law School on Wednesday, April 3.

“We’re excited to provide this option for students in the College of the Environment to take their interdisciplinary exploration of environmental issues to the next level through advanced study of the law, policy and regulation,” said Roth. “The COE was conceived of as a place where scholars can think about translating their research into action in the public sphere. Vermont Law School offers superb programs in environmental law and policy. Earning a JD or master’s degree there certainly will empower our graduates to make an even greater difference in the world.”

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Wesleyan University and look forward to welcoming qualified graduates from its College of the Environment to the Master’s and the JD degrees offered at Vermont Law School,” said Marc Mihaly, President and Dean of Vermont Law School. “Students from Wesleyan fit the profile of our most successful students – they are smart and committed to making a difference in their communities and, indeed, in the world.”

“In my mind, Vermont Law School is the premier school for environmental law in the country,” remarked Barry Chernoff, director of College of the Environment and Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. “Pursuing further study in environmental policy, regulation and law will enable our students to influence critical environmental issues facing our country—and the world—over the next century.”

Under the agreement, graduates of Wesleyan’s College of the Environment will be guaranteed admission, with a waiver of all application fees, into Vermont Law School’s JD, Master in Environmental Law and Policy (MELP), or Master in Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) programs. Qualified applicants must complete all requirements to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan; complete a minimum of 15 credits for a JD, or 16 credits for a master’s, at Wesleyan; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher; earn an LSAT score of 150 or higher for the JD; and present a letter of recommendation from the director of the College of the Environment. The agreement applies to those who have graduated from Wesleyan within four years.

College of the Environment students are especially well-prepared to pursue this type of work after graduation, said Chernoff, because Wesleyan requires them to do their primary scholarship in a particular discipline, and then examine environmental issues from multiple lenses for the Environmental Studies linked major. Majors are also required to complete a capstone project on an environmental topic, principally from the perspective of their primary major, which offers good practice in real world environmental research. The emphasis on critical thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective, which takes into account the viewpoints of all stakeholders, gives “our students a great basis for doing environmental policy work in the future,” Chernoff said.

He added that a significant number of COE graduates currently go on to earn law degrees. Current students he consulted about a partnership with Vermont Law School gave universally positive feedback.

Chernoff said he has, and will continue, to promote the partnership among faculty, students, alumni and prospective students. “I really think it’s important for young people to have interesting opportunities available to them after graduation, and for Wesleyan to provide gateways for students into careers,” he said.

In addition, Chernoff is exploring the development of other partnerships to provide COE students with different avenues for post-graduate education in areas such as public health, environmental management, sustainability and sustainable design.

Ackoff ’11, Bukiet ’11 Receive Distinguished Student Award

Barry Chernoff presented the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Awards April 22 during the Wesleyan Earth Day celebration. Chernoff is the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program, director of the College of the Environment. Pictured at right is award recipient Sophie Ackoff '11.

Miles Bukiet '11 also received the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award, which was established in 2007 by a gift from the Robert Schumann Foundation. The award is presented to an outstanding student who demonstrates academic accomplishment and excellence in environmental stewardship through work at Wesleyan or the greater Middletown community. (Photos by Emily Brackman '11)

COE Faculty Fellows Explore Water’s Past, Water’s Future

Wesleyan’s College of the Environment has appointed faculty members Johan “Joop” Varekamp, Clark Maines, Vijay Pinch and Elise Springer as 2011-12 fellows. The fellows will gather with other Wesleyan scholars and undergraduate students for a year-long academic “Think Tank” on a critical environmental issue. The 2011-12 topic is “Water’s Past, Water’s Future.”

The aim of the Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national and international thinking and action on the issue. Scholars and students in the think tank are expected to produce scholarly

Post Quake Haiti Topic of Panel Discussion



Gina Ulysse introduces a panel discussion on “One Year later: Assessing Disaster and Community in Post Quake Haiti” Feb. 9 in Usdan University Center. Ulysse is associate professor of African American Studies, associate professor of anthropology, associate professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies.



Pricing Carbon Emissions Discussed at Carbon Conference

Wesleyan, in conjunction with the Price Carbon Campaign, an umbrella organization of climate-policy advocates, hosted “Pricing Carbon: The Wesleyan Conference” Nov. 19-21 at Wesleyan. Participants at the conference discussed and developed new approaches to pricing carbon emissions that are destabilizing Earth’s climate and driving global warming.