New School of Earth and Sustainability launched

image of School of Earth and Sustainability wordmark

Nearly 200 people attended the official launch of the new School of Earth and Sustainability on April 19 in the atrium of the Design Building, where founding director Curt Griffin thanked Provost Katherine S. Newman, Steve Goodwin, CNS dean, and other administrators, faculty and staff who worked to make the school a reality. The SES is a partnership among CNS departments of Environmental Conservation, Geosciences Microbiology and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and its department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning.

Griffin said the SES is the only one of its kind in New England and it creates a rich environment for students and faculty to “make a big difference in the world,” with the largest and most diverse set of environmental sustainability programs. He adds, “At UMass, we have enormous capacity to become a national leader for research and the destination of choice for students interested in applied environmental disciplines such as climate sciences, food systems, biodiversity and conservation, clean energy, the built environment and social and environmental justice, just to name a few.”

Goodwin recalled that on the first Earth Day in 1970 he was in high school, and “the UMass School of Earth and Sustainability would have been the perfect place for me, but it didn’t exist then.” Today, he called the SES “a textbook example” of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. He added, “You can’t come to a mission of understanding the planet and life on the planet from just one perspective. You need to come with many different approaches” to address not only climate but challenges facing water, food, energy and other resources. “So on behalf of all the students who are going to come through these doors in the future, thank you for creating this new school.” SES Website, News Office release