Caught Green Handed

With a large number of interesting and innovative environmentally focused classes, students don't need to be environmental study majors or minors to take one of the many interdisciplinary classes offered at HWS.

Below is a partial list of courses that take the environment into consideration.


ARCH 302 Design Studio III: Architecture and the Wider Environment
Through a series of theoretical and applied problems in this course, students explore the integration of architecture with larger formal, social, political, economic, movement and environmental issues of urban and regional planning. Prerequisite: ARCH 200. This course is offered annually by Professor Frederic Hauser.


BIOL 316 Conservation Biology
Conservation Biology is a relatively new discipline in biology which addresses the alarming loss of biological diversity around the globe.  The basic goals of the discipline are to understand the causes and consequences of this loss, while also developing practical approaches to prevent extinction and preserve biodiversity on a global basis. Prerequisite: BIOL 212, 220. This course is offered alternate years by the Biology Staff.


ECON 212 Environmental Economics
The primary goal of this course is to apply basic micro-economic principles to understanding environmental issues and possible solutions.  The course is structured around four basic questions: How much pollution is too much?  Is government up to the job?  How can we do better?  How do we resolve global issues? Prerequisite: ECON 120, 160 or permission from instructor. This course is offered annually by Professor Thomas Drennen.

ECON 348 Natural Resources and Energy Economics
Designing winning solutions to complicated issues affecting the environment requires a strong interdisciplinary approach.  The course covers the basic theoretical models of natural resource use as well as the implications of these models for policy decisions.  Students construct simple simulation models to explore basic relationships discussed in this course Prerequisite: ECON 301. This course is offered alternate years by Professor Thomas Drennen.

ECON 466 Seminar: Population Issues
This course examines in depth the political economy of population issues.  It explores the origins of population theory, the history of world population, demographic projections for the 21st century, social and environmental impacts, and population policy. Prerequisites: ECON 305. This course is offered annually by Professor Geoffrey Gilbert.


EDUC 348 Our National Parks
The US National Park Service functions to preserve unique and invaluable cultural resources throughout the country.  Students explore our National Park system from an educational, historical, sociological, cultural, scientific, political and economic perspectives. This course is offered alternate years in the fall by Professor Jim MaKinster.

EDUC 360 Teaching for a Sustainable Environment
Teaching to help solve environmental problems must occur across all segments of society: homes, schools, places of work, business and industry, laboratories, political arenas and recreational venues. Teaching is defined very broadly as any action directed at people or institutions to promote a sustainable environment. Students examine the roles of ethical reasoning and critical pedagogy in helping address educational challenges posed by conflicting value systems. This course is offered each fall by Professor Paul Kehle.

Environmental Studies

101 Sustainable Community Development
Explore how sustainable development is applied to real world communities, focusing on economic and social development, and environmental protection, as well as subjects such as culture, education, public policy, landscape design, architecture, ecology, urban planning, and historic preservation. Learn how local communities are working to become more sustainable, and become civically engaged and involved within these communities.

204 Geography of Garbage
You probably know where your t-shirt or computer was made, but do you know where they go when you throw them “away”?  Each night, trucks bring tons of New York City waste to processing and storage facilities near Geneva.  Meanwhile, boatloads of computers “recycled” in North America sail for Asia and Africa to be dismantled in dangerous conditions so that small amounts of valuable metals may be recovered.  This course will introduce students to the global geography of garbage (garbography?) with a particular focus on environmental, human health and human rights implications. This course is offered by Professor Darrin Magee.

ENV 300 Senior Integrative Experience (SIE)
The SIE involves a multidisciplinary project or seminar, independent study, or an off-campus internship.  Ideally and internship should have both an academic and experiential component. This course is offered each fall semester.

ENV 301 Group Senior Integrative Experience
The Group SIE involves a multidisciplinary project or seminar.  It enables a group of ES seniors to investigate an interdisciplinary topic of environmental interest with a focus on HWS and the Geneva community. This course is offered each fall semester.

ENV 351 Sustainable Community Development Methods
Delve into the practices and processes of sustainable community development planning, its application, methods and implementation. Evaluate the successes and failures of methods and outcomes of these efforts in achieving social equity, environmental and economic sustainability. Apply the skills and knowledge you've learned by developing a sustainable community development plan through a service-learning project. Next, learn more about development and planning by taking ECON 344 Economic Development.


GEO 140 Environmental Geology
Managing important resources such as energy, minerals, wetlands, coastal areas and fresh water supplies as well as understanding the risks associated with natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, droughts, and floods demands an understanding of fundamental geologic principles, materials and processes. This course provides an introductory presentation of these and associated environmental topics. With laboratory. Prerequisite: None. This course is offered annually by Professor John Halfman.


HIST 151 Food Systems in History
This course traces the historical emergence of the contemporary world food system.  Students briefly examine the transition from hunter-gathering to Neolithic village agriculture, the differentiation between steppe agriculture and steppe nomadism in ancient Eurasia and the medieval agricultural systems of East Europe and Asia.  An important course goal is to understand the meaning of changes in the food systems for individual lives. This course is offered every other year by Professor Susanne McNally.

HIST 246 American Environmental History
In this course, historical place in the natural landscape is described through the methods of “environmental history,” embracing three concerns: ecological relationships between humans and nature, political and economic influences on the environment, and cultural conceptions of the natural world.  Topics range from urban pollution and suburban sprawl to agricultural practices and wilderness protection. This course is offered every other year by Professor Clifton Hood.


PHIL 154 Philosophy and Contemporary Issues: Environmental Ethics
This course explores ethical and philosophical issues that arise when we consider the relation between humans and the natural environment – issues made urgent by our current environmental crisis. This course is offered every other year by Professor Steven Lee. 

Public Policy

PPOL 328 Environmental Public Policy
This course assesses the capability of the American policy process to respond to energy and environmental concerns in both the short and long term.  It examines the nature of the problem in light of recent research on global warming, pollution and acid rain, solid waste management, and deforestation. This course is offered every other year by Professor Craig Rimmerman.


SOC 271 Sociology of Environmental Issues
This course examines the development and future implications of environmental issues from a sociological perspective. Topics of interest to students are discussed as they develop during the course. Prerequisite: SOC 100. This course is offered annually by Professor Richard Mason.


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If you have any questions or comments about sustainability initiatives at HWS please feel free to contact us at or (315) 781-3676.


In 2015, HWS ranked No. 53 of 153 schools who reported to Sierra's "Cool Schools" list, earning the highest possible rating in the categories for co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives, as well as innovation in sustainability.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.