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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Celebrating environmental change

St. Joe’s commends the Environmental Science and Sustainability program

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph’s University’s Environmental Science and Sustainability Program (ESS) a series of lectures are being held throughout March and April.

The ESS program gives students the opportunity for training and research in areas such as sustainability, environmental history, environmental policy, environmental chemistry, and ecology.

“It was really just an opportunity to commemorate the fact that we have been doing this for quite some time, celebrate the fact that the university has had that commitment for 20 years and as a way of building public relations inside and outside the university,” said Director of environmental science and sustainability studies Jonathan Fingerut, Ph.D.

The lecture series was chosen as a way to celebrate the program because the program wanted to be able to inform not just those who are involved within it, but also inform anyone that is interested in the environment.

“We thought it would be something that was broadly accessible to a lot of people,” Fingerut said. “We wanted to provide a service to the community and bring these speakers into campus. It all came to trying to put these subjects and these issues out in front to make them accessible to as many people as possible.”

Michael Riga, ’17, a double major in environmental science and biology, attended “The Southern Ocean and its Significant Role in Climate” lecture.

“I found the event very informative, especially in a time in which people are very concerned about our climate as well as our political climate,” Riga said. “This is a topic that is very relevant to the current times.”

Riga chose Environmental Science as one of his majors because he is interested in plant biology and wants to be able to have a diverse background of studies.

“I also find it very interesting because it is a different way to approach science,” Riga said. “It is more of an interdisciplinary field as opposed to biology in that it involves a lot of chemistry, ecology, general biology; it involves a different element.”

Graphic by Katilyn Patterson ’20.

Riga plans to enter a Ph.D. program in plant pathology where he will study plant diseases.

“The reason why I find environmental science so interesting is because I also like to link how climate change is affecting plant pathogens and their interactions and that goes into agriculture,” Riga said.

Karen Medina, ’17, decided to be an environmental science major to work with climate change.

“I have always liked the environment, I like working outside and just growing up that was one of my favorite things, and I took AP environmental science my senior year of high school and that’s when I realized I made sure I studied it in college,” Medina said.

Medina found the lecture series a good idea to get the word out about the environmental program. “I think they [the lectures] are amazing,” Medina said. “I think they are probably like the best things that the school could have done for the program. It’s really good to be able to have a series, it’s just great to actually be able to hear people talk about it.”

Fingerut thinks students choose the program because it offers them a good science background that stems out of the actual science department.

“I think our students really have a passion for being agents of change, they really want to go out there and identify the issues and change them,” Fingerut said. “They see this as the area where they want to make a difference and they tailor their curriculum here to make sure they are trained in the ways they need to make a difference and for the field they want to go into.”

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