Environmental Studies Department

students at COP 24 negotiations

CSB/SJU student delegates attended the COP24 negotations in Katowice, Poland in December 2018. The students conducted original research at the COP during CSB/SJU's fourth year attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Visit the UNFCCC website to learn more!

Annie Johnson, class of 2018

 Annie Johnson '18 completed her senior environmental studies thesis, researching how techniques used in wilderness therapy can be applied to college students. Then she created Wild Minds, a program combining outdoor adventures, mental health awareness and a positive social atmosphere as a way to introduce a small group of students to the natural resources available at CSB/SJU.

Ashley Ver Burg Soukup, class of 2010

Ashley Ver Burg Soukup ('10) selected one of 'Best and Brightest' MBAs in 2018

Ashley is one of 100 students from MBA programs around the world selected for Poets and Quants annual honor. Read more about Ashley and her work before embarking on her MBA.

Sarah McLarnan Mountain

Sarah Mclarnan ('17) receives $50,000 EPA grant

Sarah is one of 35 students nationwide to be selected for a Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship and a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations, Sarah!

"I have been grateful for the opportunity to explore my interests without confining myself to one path."See what else Sarah has to say!

Why environmental studies? Ask our students.

Hudson Echelard

Hudson Echelard ('18)

While beginning my career at St. John's I was involved with many clubs and organizations that fell under the supervision of the environmental studies department, Outdoor University, or St. John's Arboretum - I found it impossible not to major in something that allowed me to get outside every week.

Morgan Durbin

Morgan Durbin ('18)

I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture and food security both in the United States and abroad, and I have had so many opportunities to communicate and connect with individuals from various fields.

Skylar Peyton in New Zealand

Skylar Peyton ('18)

Not only have I learned a lot, but I've also come to realize that regardless of what I do with my future, I'll never regret learning my way around the woods. 


Overview of Program

  • Environmental studies was established as a major in 2003. Six department faculty, joined by two dozen faculty from other departments, offer students a unique and innovative curriculum.
  • Our curriculum is based on a core of interdisciplinary environmental studies courses that approach questions of sustainability in a variety of contexts including food, energy, gender, ecology, policy, and more.
  • Students can choose from a range of environmentally-oriented courses in art, communication, ecology, economics, ethics, literature, geology, history, nutrition, politics, psychology, sociology, and other fields in addition to our core environmental studies curriculum.
  • A focus on undergraduate research and experiential learning offers opportunities for summer research assistantships, internships, field experiences, and a capstone thesis project for all majors.
  • The natural setting of Saint Ben's and Saint John's, including wetlands, streams, forests, lakes and prairies, offers a unique environment for students to explore, conduct research, and learn about environmental education and land stewardship.
  • Graduates of the environmental studies program can be found in a variety of places after graduation. Many graduates choose to volunteer or pursue further education, while many can be found in a number of unique career paths.
  • Saint John's Abbey installed approximately 1800 solar panels on 3.9 acres of former farmland in the fall of 2009. At the time of installation, the solar farm was the largest in Minnesota.
  • In 2005, CSB/SJU designated environmental studies as one of the first Signature Programs of the two institutions. The designation is part of a strategic planning initiative to strengthen and highlight interdisciplinary programs.

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