One of Emerson’s core values is, “critical and creative thinking that inspires audiences; improves the arts and communication; and advances social justice, global responsibility and environmental sustainability in our institution, communities, nation, and world.” The following all represent opportunities for students to engage with sustainability topics directly through academic programs.

Environmental Studies Minor

The interdisciplinary Environmental Studies minor examines environmental processes, challenges, and solutions from a variety of perspectives, including science, policy, economics, history, ethics, media, literature, and the arts. Students will explore the relationships between people and the environment, focusing in particular on the sustainable use of natural resources and the causes, consequences, and communication of the complex environmental problems faced by human societies, including air and water pollution, habitat loss and restoration, and climate change.

You can learn more about the course requirements for the minor here.

Engagement Lab

The Engagement Lab at Emerson College is a research-based design lab that is focused on studying and designing media and technology that is reshaping civic life. Initiatives are multi-year collaborations facilitated by the Engagement Lab with explicit social impact goals. Initiatives center community-based partners and work with faculty, students, and other stakeholders to define impact goals and work toward those goals through partnered studios and other collaborative activities.

Launched in 2021, the Transforming Narratives Of Gun Violence Initiative (TNGVI) is a three-year partnership between Emerson College’s Engagement Lab, the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute.This Boston-based collaboration is to explore narrative interventions to interrupt the crisis of gun violence through partnered studios in media, arts, and communication.

In fall 2023, the Engagement Lab launched a new initiative called Transforming Narratives for Climate Justice. This three-year commitment includes work alongside local organizations advancing climate and environmental justice in the Boston area. Through this “Climate and Community” initiative, Emerson faculty and students work with local activists, organizers, and practitioners in collaborative storytelling, art, research, and design projects. 

Sustainability Courses at Emerson

Interested in taking a course that either focuses on sustainability or includes sustainability topics? Check out the examples below. For the most up-to-date course listings at the College, please refer to the course catalogs here.

Examples of Sustainability-Focused Courses

These courses are directly focused on sustainability content: 

  • Social Movements in the U.S.
  • Environmental Marketing Communication: Santa Lucia Lodge
  • Environmental Journalism
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Climate Change
  • Race and Ethnicity; The Key Concepts

Examples of Sustainability-Inclusive Courses

These courses include sustainability concepts:

  • Principles of Economics
  • Post-Colonial Cinema
  • Applied Anthropology & Sociology
  • Political Philosophy
  • Human Health and Disease
  • Community Engagement from the Stage

For a complete inventory of sustainability-focused and sustainability-inclusive courses, view our full course inventory here, which was compiled for Emerson’s reporting to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This list is based on AASHE’s definition of sustainability. Please note that the inventory was compiled in spring, 2022 and has not been updated.