This fall, students in the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development unveiled innovative solutions for sustainability issues as part of their Capstone Workshop. Under the guidance of professors Stuart Gaffin and Radley Horton, students worked as consultants for organizations such as the United States Military Academy at West Point, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and New York City’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. On December 5th, students gathered to present their final briefing to fellow Columbia University students, faculty and staff. Read more about the projects below.
In an effort to better support students in their efforts to raise awareness about sustainability on campus, the Earth Institute is making available funding for the new Student Initiatives Support Program, offering grants of up to $250 each semester to support students who wish to host conferences, panels and other events at Columbia University that relate to the work of the Earth Institute.
Alyssa Menz’ upbringing and interests have shaped her enthusiasm and fascination for environmental policy and human-environment interactions. Her studies in sustainable development and learning experiences abroad in Jordan, the Middle East and Kenya have further fueled her passion for international environmental policy and conflict resolution. After graduating from the program, Alyssa hopes to continue her sustainable development senior thesis research on sustainable bushmeat farming in Kenya.
The Earth Institute will offer six research assistant opportunities for undergraduate students during the spring 2015 semester. Undergraduates from Columbia and Barnard will be able to serve as research assistants on research projects related to sustainable development and the environment with distinguished faculty and researchers at the cutting edge of this burgeoning field.
While research assistant positions at Columbia are generally awarded to graduate students, this program instead aims to present undergraduates with a unique opportunity to be involved in research at a high level and to gain valuable experience and skills for their future academic and professional careers.
This spring, the Earth Institute is offering Columbia students opportunities to intern within various departments and research centers at the institute. All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply. These internships are funded at a rate of $15 an hour for 10 hours per week and up to a maximum of 120 hours for the spring 2015 semester. The
The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is currently accepting applications for spring 2015 teaching assistant positions.
This experience taught us not only about climate modeling, quantitative research and analysis, but also about the dynamic process of working with a client and with a team. After months of hard work, our team presented our findings to fellow students and faculty at Columbia and to our clients at West Point. The project has blossomed into continued collaboration between Columbia and West Point—including additional capstone projects in the spring semester.
As Professor Ruth DeFries aptly stated in her opening remarks at yesterday’s book launch for “The Big Ratchet,” if you look at satellite pictures of the earth, you see the imprint of the human species everywhere. Humans have come to dominate the planet. But how did this come to be? This question, among others, is what DeFries hopes to answer in her new book, “The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis.” How did humans acquire the capability to spread out over the entire earth and control other species?
Vital Signs is a key part of Tanzania’s new Agriculture Climate Resilience Plan, which presents a strategy for sustainable agricultural development in the face of shifting rainfall patterns and other effects of a changing climate.
There are many brave people who recognize the climate crisis and are beginning to stand up and take personal risks to try to stop expansion of the fossil fuel industry, across the United States, in Canada, and in other nations. Their courage is remarkable and I hope it has an awakening effect.