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Sustainability Studies Program

Majors and Minors

The Sustainability Studies Program offers the following courses of study:

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Why Study Sustainability Studies?

Global environmental issues related to climate, agriculture, resource management and sustainability are in the headlines daily. These issues affect political decisions, business decisions and have far-reaching social impacts. Tomorrow's decision-makers need to understand environmental processes, and have critical thinking skills related to the analysis and interpretation of impacts related to environmental policies. These skills will enable you to evaluate both the short-term and long-term implications of human actions that affect the earth's environment.

Kevin Svitana, assistant professor of Biology and Earth Science, discusses his drinking water research project in the video below.

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Otterbein's Sustainability Studies program strives to challenge students to look beyond the surface of the issues and explore the complexity of what may seem to be simple solutions. Exploring questions like: when isn't recycling good, or why could ethanol cause social and water resource impacts if it replaces hydrocarbons, help students look not just at technical solutions, but also at the far-reaching impacts of environmentally motivated changes. Employers and communities value an individual's ability to critically assess, understand and communicate these difficult issues. 

Korean delegation visits NGWA headquarters

Dr. Kevin Svitana met with a delegation of groundwater professionals from Korea visiting the National Ground Water Association headquarters in Westerville on Nov. 5. Dr. Svitana discussed Otterbein's groundwater wells and monitoring project with the delegation, who were here to gain information on how national groundwater monitoring networks are conceived and maintained, and how the data is gathered and analyzed.


Otterbein encourages and supports student research. See Research at Otterbein to learn more. 


Otterbein University values and encourages students to pursue internships. The most effective internships allow students the opportunity to apply their classroom skill to professional settings. A multidisciplinary aspect of Otterbein's Sustainability Studies program allows students a broad range of internship opportunities. Students can use internships to substitute for one of a set of defined classes (contact the program for details). Sustainability Studies faculty will work with students to identify appropriate opportunities and help assure that students have meaningful internship experiences. Some of Otterbein's potential internship partners include:

Graduate School and Careers

Opportunities for Graduate Study

Otterbein University focuses on educating the whole person, challenging students to think beyond the typical circumstances and look for new and innovative ways to solve problems. This academic training fits well with the expectations of most graduate research institutions. Otterbein's Sustainability Studies faculty are familiar with applicable graduate programs at many research institutions and are willing to help you explore graduate school opportunities.


Will a minor in environmental studies help you land a job? To answer that question, reflect on the various media messages you have encountered during the last few weeks. Topics like climate, energy, water, waste, sustainability, etc. are continually present in news articles, political pitches and advertisements. The increase in environmental awareness and concern for the stewardship of our planet's resources and populations now places environmental issues into almost every profession. Businesses are challenged to reimagine and redesign to help create products that are environmentally friendly and more sustainable.

Otterbein's Sustainability Studies Program provides students in any discipline or major the skills necessary to understand and analyze complex environmental problems.

/ Sustainability Studies

Kevin Svitana
p / 614.823.1507
e / ksvitana@otterbein.edu


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Ohio EPA groundwater class
Ohio EPA Conducts Certified Environmental Professionals Training at Otterbein

The Ohio EPA Department of Emergency and Remedial Response conducted groundwater sampling on Otterbein University's campus for Ohio's Certified Environmental Professionals in September. The class was designed to provide continuing education for the environmental professionals. Otterbein environmental science students were also able to participate in the training event.