“What’s your major?” is a commonly asked question whenever people meet each other for the first time. “Sustainability Studies,” I always answer. Some people know what that is, but many ask me if it’s related to environmental science. “No, it’s in the Science, Technology and Society department. It’s more of the social science side of environmental problems and solutions.”
Sustainability Studies is both a minor and a major. The minor is only four classes, and is pretty easy to pick up with the Humanities and Social Sciences courses everyone needs to take. Unlike some minors—for example, an economics minor—the Sustainability Studies minor can help fulfill both the humanities requirement and the social science requirement. Some classes are even cross-listed so students can pick the one that fits their needs. The major is only ten classes for dual majors, and these can be used to fulfill HASS requirements and electives.
The STS professors are some of the nicest people I’ve gotten to interact with. Positive feedback really makes me feel good and want to try even harder. I feel confident in asking them any of my questions. Classes, especially the 4000-level ones that I’m in now, are more discussion-based than lecture-based. In the few instances when the professor or a guest speaker is giving a lecture, my classmates and I are welcome to raise our hands if we have any questions. In addition, my advisor is really easy to talk to and has lots of suggestions, both for now and for where I could go to graduate school in the future. I’ve talked to many students, and, unfortunately, many of them do not feel the same way about their adviser.
Sustainability Studies is very interdisciplinary. I’m learning basic sociology and anthropology methods and putting them into practice in some of my classes. Last spring, I did an independent study on hydrofracking and policies relating to hydrofracking. I learned a lot about how hydrofracking works, as well as benefits and drawbacks. I enjoy the interdisciplinary work since I have many interests.
This semester, one of my classes is researching food security in Troy. We’ve looked up demographic data online, done some interviews with knowledgeable people, and compiled all of this information. It’s exciting to be part of a project that hasn’t really been done before.
To me, Sustainability Studies is an exciting and fulfilling major. I’m able to apply my many interests to my classes. My professors are great, and I learn a lot. If you’re interested in the minor or major, I suggest that you check out the info in the course catalog (under “information programs”) or the STS website.