John Smith

Class of 2009

The CSB/SJU Environmental Studies program enriched my natural talents and curiosity to succeed at the intersection of education and the environment. I have long wondered why humans abuse nature and how to change that trend in people of all ages. During my time at CSB/SJU, doing sustainability with St. Paul Public Schools and teaching at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center have all been manifestations of that curiosity. Most recently, at the Will Steger Foundation (WSF), I split my time between supporting classroom teachers who use our climate literacy curriculum and developing new classroom resources related to energy. WSF educates, inspires and empowers people of all ages to make solutions to climate change--and my liberal arts education from CSB/SJU compliments this multifaceted approach.

While many classes I took at CSB/SJU help me every day in the workplace, none more than Environmental and Natural Resource Economics with Ernie Diedrich and Environmental Ethics with Chuck Wright. These two classes took the conversations I was having in other classes and dug deep into the heart of the discord between humans and nature. Environmental Studies is the quintessential liberal arts degree: touching all regions of the globe and preparing students for conversation and decision-making within any circumstance. Be that as it may, any chance to refine a specific talent is worth doing, and my natural talents lie in the humanities (hence economics and ethics).

Beyond classes, my extracurricular action with student clubs and organizations served as an arena to test my budding skills as a change-maker by engaging in campaigns, hosting events, joining coalitions and raising funds among other things. My schooling would not be complete without these opportunities which gave me highly-valuable skills for any job in the not-for-profit and private sectors.

In fact, in all my past employment I have been able to draw upon conversations, projects and assignments I had to complete as part of the Environmental Studies program or as part of my own extracurricular involvement leading campus organizations to make CSB/SJU more sustainable.