Drew University Announces New Environmental Justice Minor

Engaged faculty and students make the program a natural fit

April 2023 – Drew University recently approved the creation of an environmental justice minor in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).

The addition of the minor, effective fall 2023 and a rarity among liberal arts schools, comes due to students’ expressed interest in the option and a quick faculty response to create the program.

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A recent student-run Volunteer Without Borders trip to New Orleans.

Having current faculty engaged in many aspects of the subject allows for a robust, interdisciplinary roster of classes, including those from the environmental studies and sustainability, anthropology, English, and women’s and gender studies course catalogs.

“Drew is an ideal place for an environmental justice minor because we have numerous faculty members who are engaged in this topic,” said Marc Boglioli, associate professor of anthropology.

“Just as important is that the school in general, from faculty and staff to administrators, supports this kind of work. That’s not always the case. A commitment to teaching about environmental justice has been a part of Drew University for a long time, before lots of other schools started leaning into the issue. As long as I’ve been here, which is close to 20 years, we’ve been teaching about environmental justice in the CLA, and Drew Theological School certainly reaches back even further.”

Indeed, Drew has programs and events focused on the issue, including University participation in the Worldwide Climate Teach-In; the alternative spring break to Appalachian coal communities, held annually since 2010; various student-led Volunteer Without Border excursions; and a number of Community-Based Learning courses designed to create hands-on, learn-by-doing opportunities.

Students will acquire the skills and resume-building experiences that will apply to a number of job fields and secondary education opportunities.

“Because environmental justice work deals with solving environmental problems and social justice problems, it benefits from the involvement of a vast array of people with different skills, from grassroots organizers and lawyers to artists, writers, chemists, social scientists, and more,” said Boglioli. “The sky is really the limit in terms of where a person who completes an environmental justice minor might go. Some more typical destinations might be public health, NGOs involved with environmental and/or social justice issues, academia, government agencies, and law. Interestingly, the EPA recently embarked on the largest environmental justice hiring push in its history.”

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