Will Matuska '21 (he/him/his)

Where do you call home?

Cold Spring, Minnesota

What are your majors/minors?

Environmental Studies

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities- hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, rock climbing, wake-boarding, camping, and more! That being said, my all time favorite would have to be snowboarding. I love getting out west to the mountains with friends and family to shred the gnar!

Why did you major in Environmental Studies?

I came in uncertain about what my major would be. Right away, I knew I wanted to take an Environmental Studies course because of my interest in the outdoors. After taking the Intro class with Jean Lavigne, I realized how interdisciplinary and intersectional the major is and I've been hooked ever since.

What is your favorite Environmental Studies class and why?

There have been so many great Environmental Studies classes. One of my favorites was Corrie Grosse's Gender and Environment class. This was my favorite class because we talked about a variety of social justice issues that intersected gender and I remember being consistently enlightened by new and interesting concepts. The class was also demanding and stretched my thinking through discussions, papers, readings, and projects.

What environmental issue are you most passionate about? Why?

The environmental issue that I have been most passionate about has changed a few times since I've been in college, mostly due to the most recent interesting class I've taken. Throughout my first few years, I was passionate about agriculture and energy. Right now, my focus has shifted to an interest in equitable access to the outdoors, outdoor education, and outdoor adventure. This is a new interest of mine, but I am excited to be researching this topic for my thesis.

What was the focus of your research for ENVR 320? What were your findings?

My Colloquium project was about the viability of scaling up permaculture practices for farmers in central Minnesota. I chose this topic because of the often environmentally degrading practices of industrial agriculture and various social and environmental benefits of permaculture. I found that while scaling permaculture has significant and social barriers to overcome, some methods and approaches from specific success samples can be applied to rethinking agriculture in Minnesota. 

What advice do you have for first year students and majors?

I think that one of the best decisions I made early on was not to minor in a subject. I know many people minor in various subjects and that is great, but as someone who was not exactly sure what I wanted to do/study, it was overwhelming for me to decide on another subject to combine with ES. This turned out to be a great decision because I was able to be flexible and take any class that I thought was interesting, including a variety of interesting Environmental Studies classes and other classes outside the major that sparked my interest like Intro to Video, Piano lessons, Intro to Media Writing, and Moral Philosophy. I really got to enjoy the liberal arts education that is offered here without being stressed to hit a credit count.