Sam Schulteis, an Environmental Sciences & Policy (ENV) major also pursuing a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement (CSE), recently shared insights into why she chose to major in ENV, why she added the certificate, what she has learned, her favorite experience and advice for students considering the major or certificate. 

Why did you choose to major in Environmental Sciences and Policy with a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement?

"Growing up on a fruit farm in Pennsylvania inspired my interest in the environment from a young age. Learning about deep-rooted environmental problems throughout my undergraduate coursework, I've come to realize that many of the biggest challenges facing humanity and our planet are not only a function of the natural world, but social and economic as well. I chose to complete a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement to learn about how we can create meaningful solutions to environmental problems while also building social equity and economic viability." 

Sam on hike with sunrise behind

What have you learned from completing the Certificate in Sustainability Engagement and its courses?

"I used to think all environmental issues arose due to humans exploiting natural resources to meet their needs, but completing a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement taught me otherwise. Through interdisciplinary coursework, I've learned that environmental issues are almost always driven by economic greed, usually creating some form of social disparity. These three 'pillars of sustainability' are intertwined in creating problems for our planet, so they must all be addressed when generating solutions."

What's been your favorite experience as an ENV major with a CSE? 

"I really enjoyed taking Lee Miller's class, Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Law and Policy as one of my electives. Throughout the course, we learned about the importance of the Farm Bill and the domination of 'big ag.' Although I had previously been introduced to many of these issues, it was interesting to read and discuss them from a policy perspective."

What advice would you give a student considering adding a certificate in sustainability engagement?

"A Certificate in Sustainability Engagement can be whatever you want it to be. The gateway and capstone courses allow you the freedom to complete community-based projects in an area of your own interest, and the elective courses can be listed under any department.

Every discipline can tie into local and global sustainability, so you can really take this certificate in any direction you want. We need to think more about our planet's future, and sustainability is an increasingly popular concept. Completing a Certificate in Sustainability Engagement will not only look good to future employers but deepen your understanding of how to solve some of the world's biggest problems."

Learn more about Sam's Certificate in Sustainability Engagement experience by checking out her ePortfolio.