Sustainability Studies Major & Minor


The world is grappling with complex environmental and social problems, and the need for professionals skilled in navigating these issues has never been greater. At Goshen, you’ll learn to think deeply about these issues in our society, but you’ll also have many chances to practice what you’ve been learning through real-world problem-solving. In any given semester you’ll go on a variety of field trips to learn how professionals and community members do their jobs and how they connect to sustainability, but you’ll also be learning practical skills like baking bread, preserving food and canoeing as a form of local tourism.

The Sustainability Leadership Semester, at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, is for any major interested in making a positive change in the community they live in. It is also the foundation of the sustainability studies major and the sustainability minor. During this 13-week program, you will live with other students in sustainable LEED Platinum-certified “green” buildings, cook food from produce raised on site and make group decisions about limiting consumption — all while learning about societal and environmental problems. You’ll spend your days learning about the local watershed by investigating Merry Lea’s diverse 1,189-acre nature preserve — and a week canoeing on the Elkhart and St. Joseph Rivers. Much of your learning will happen outside of the classroom: in marshland, prairies, living rooms and kitchens.

Whatever you’d like to do after college — whether it’s pursuing further studies in one of many sustainability-related fields or diving right into the challenging and thrilling work of solving problems in communities — studying sustainability at Goshen will get you ready for it!

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Learn more about the Sustainability Leadership Semester, a key part of the sustainability studies major or sustainability minor.

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Students & Alumni

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Faculty & Staff

Joel Pontius

Associate Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education
Director of Sustainability Leadership Semester

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Jonathon Schramm

Associate Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education
SST Tanzania: SP

Tom Hartzell

Merry Lea Coordinator for Residential Programs & Environmental Educator