Green Mountain College Creates Next Generation Sustainability Professionals

Green Mountain College students are taking on sustainability challenges with gusto upon graduation. In this guest post, Serena Eddy, Director of Career and Personal Development at Green Mountain College (GMC), offers her perspective on what makes GMC’s offering unique and the College’s students and graduates exceptional. You can read more about Green Mountain College and GMC’s Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) program in this previously published Eco News Network article.

Green Mountain College Tiny Homes - OTIS

A GMC student with the OTIS (Optimal Traveling Independent Space)

With the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, along with loosening environmental regulations, colleges have become part of a three-tiered front of nationwide activism and a renewed commitment to sustainability, in collaboration with state and local governments, and enlightened corporations. As part of this commitment, our role as educators is to help young people across the country transform their dismay at the damage being done into excitement about entering long-term careers where they can make a difference, while making a living.

The colleges in the best position to make an impact are those that have been at the forefront of sustainability all along. Vermont’s Green Mountain College (GMC), for example, has for over 20 years focused their entire curriculum on sustainability (environmental, social and economic), and continually innovates to provide its students with the tools they need to develop careers on the leading edge of sustainability.

Noted climatologist Michael Mann – the creator of the iconic “Hockey Stick” curve, a visual presentation of scientific data demonstrating the rise in global temperatures in conjunction with the use of fossil fuels – is among those who recognize the importance of creating the next generation of sustainability professionals. An excerpt from his speech to the Green Mountain College class of 2017 at their graduation:

At a time when our environment is most imperiled, your work—class of 2017—is more important than ever…I have become convinced that there is no more noble pursuit we can engage in than to seek to insure that policy is informed by an objective assessment of scientific evidence.

That evidence now shows us that we face a stark choice, between a future with a little more climate change that we will still have to adapt to and cope with, and one with catastrophic climate change that will threaten the future of life as we know it.

Those of us who care about science and the role that [it] plays in our larger public discourse, and those who care about environmental stewardship and a sustainable path forward, must now make our voices heard.

Become involved. There are so many ways to speak out and to influence the dialogue. So many ways we can engage constructively with governmental, civic and corporate institutions in the realms of education, public policy and industry.

This is where a proven sustainability curriculum comes into play; to develop the skills needed to “become involved” in a meaningful, impactful way. Need further inspiration? Dr. Mannwent on to provide a glimpse ofwhat recent GMC graduates have accomplished with their sustainability education:

  • Tori Knoss—class of 2012, Naturalist, Pacific Whale Foundation, Maui, Hawaii.
  • Keith Drinkwine—class of 2010, Assistant Director of Camps, Parks and Forest, N.Y. State Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
  • Mindy Blank—class of 2010, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at GMC, participated in the history-making COP21 climate meeting in Paris in December 2015. She has also worked for the International Energy Agency helping countries accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.

For rising high school seniors seeking an education that will make their “dream careers” a reality, I encourage you to seek out a college with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability; from curriculum, to culture, to a proven track record in post-graduation career placement. And for those current college students considering transferring, it’s not too late – at GMC, students are admitted on a rolling basis.

-Serena Eddy

Green Mountain College Serena EddySerena Eddy is the Director of Career and Personal Development at Green Mountain College (GMC). The nation’s #1 college and curriculum for sustainability, GMC prepares students to build rewarding and meaningful careers.Ninety-seven percent of GMC graduates are employed or in graduate school and ninety-five percent of graduates are satisfied or very satisfied in their work.

Photos courtesy of Green Mountain College.

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