Five things you might not know about PitE, including cool environmental classes you didn't know about
All around campus—across the 19 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan —sustainability efforts and climate action are gaining momentum. With the arrival of President Santa Ono in 2022, and his emphasis on the importance of addressing the climate emergency, the conversion of the campus into a living laboratory for achieving carbon neutrality is well underway.
Some significant recent developments include the hiring of U-M’s first associate vice president for campus sustainability; the launch of a collaboration across campus to advance climate education; and the groundbreaking for a new housing and dining complex that will incorporate energy-efficient standards and solar panels, an all-electric design and geothermal exchange systems for heating and cooling in the dining hall.
For over 20 years, the Program in the Environment (PitE) has been bringing together undergraduate students with a passion for environmental studies and helping them to develop into advocates working toward a more just, sustainable and green future—all with an interdisciplinary perspective.
PitE students develop foundational knowledge across environmental and ecological principles, human behavior and decisions, environmental justice and equity, and environmental history and humanities. A jointly managed program between the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), the curriculum is rich in field-based and project-based learning, with an emphasis on collaboration, connections across topics and disciplines and a focus on how to communicate effectively with the public.
For students who want to become informed citizens and leaders with deep knowledge of environmental studies and equipped with critical thinking and practical problem-solving skills, PitE is the place.
Here are five things you might not know about PitE
- PitE offers students an unmatched interdisciplinary experience, fostering engagement with students and faculty from nearly every undergraduate degree program on campus. With 48 faculty members from six schools or colleges, PitE students have a chance to learn from distinguished faculty from a variety of schools at U-M.
- Any undergraduate can take PitE classes, or you can major or minor in the PitE program—major in Environment, or minor in Environment, Sustainability, Food, Energy Science and Policy, and Water.
- PitE graduates go on to pursue a whole range of interesting and exciting internships and careers, from filmmaking to the development of wearable devices that make neurotechnology accessible to all, the possibilities are endless!
- Starting in the Winter ’24 semester, PitE will participate in LSA’s “Year of Sustainability,” which will cover key topics related to the climate crisis. Many of the courses that will be offered during the theme year are PitE courses. We invite you to check them out! Here is a small sampling of some exciting offerings:
- ENVIRON 111 - Climate Change and Sustainability: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century
If you’re interested in beginning your exploration of Earth’s climate and the issues and challenges to creating a sustainable society and planet, this course is for you.
- ENVIRON 201 - Ecological Issues
In this course, you’ll learn to look through the lens of your own ethics while learning about the importance of interdisciplinary approaches when considering the allocation of natural resources and the quality of our environment.
- ENVIRON 208 - Business and Sustainability
Take this course if you want to understand the variety of actions that corporations take to address sustainability challenges and critically analyze them to recognize strengths and weaknesses in different strategies.
- PitE students have a practical experience requirement, which means you get a chance to be involved and hands-on with something that aligns with your interests, such as the Campus Farm (where you’ll find a straw bale house that PitE students helped to build!).