UW Sustainability offers a quarterly undergraduate seminar series through First Year Programs that gives students the opportunity to explore sustainability at UW and beyond. The winter quarter seminar explores the amount and breadth of sustainability-related academic programs and degrees in more detail.
Below are comments by students who have taken the seminar:
"I am very thankful that I took this seminar as this class opened my eyes to business applications in the environment, while also offering me a more sustainable perspective. Before this course, I knew I wanted to have a career in business, but I did not think much about how I might apply business to the environment. My current career goals include Human Resources and Marketing positions, thus, I never thought about how I could pursue these career tracks while also practicing sustainability. This course has given me insight into how I can broaden my career paths by exploring positions in environmental marketing. For example, if I wanted to work at Starbucks, having a background in environmental studies or urban and community planning would be beneficial to any campaigns or advertisements I might create. Although I am graduating in June, I am considering taking a lunch seminar next quarter to further broaden my mind in relation to environmental issues." - Senior, Communications.
"To start off I think the instructor was definitely something I liked from this seminar. It was very helpful to have an example of someone who has had a lot of diversity in his career. The instructor was also very enthusiastic and engaging with the conversation. I was very surprised to learn about majors and minors I had no idea about. One that really stood out to me was the geography major. I’m not making any concrete plans about majoring in the field but I will definitely take a geography course. What I’m taking away from this class is knowledge about different majors that relate to sustainability. Sustainability in general in something that can be applied in so many diverse work areas." - Freshman, Geograpy
"This class helps me strengthen my decision to major in environmental studies. Additionally, I have learned sustainability is everywhere through this class. Every business should take sustainability into account. I have learned any change in environment will affect human’s life. For instance, companies that produce snowboards may earn less money because global worming reduces the space for people to go skiing. In a word, this class taught me that environment is highly related to human’s life, and we should consider environmental factors when making decisions." - Freshman, ESRM
"I was really interested in the parts which related sustainability to the economy or business decisions. I used to think that sustainability is all about environment. But now I know that it can be related to a great number of fields, such as social society, economy, environmental science and business." - Sophomore, Economics
"Looking back on the quarter I think this class turned out to be very useful. From meeting with new students and staff from different areas of study to working on our resumes, I tried to take something from each of these experiences. What I really liked about this class was seeing how many departments at the UW have some sense of or focus on sustainability. Whether that be economic, social, or environmental, there are way more people out there than I thought who share the common goals for life on Earth, say, 50 years from now. And even more surprisingly, who have been doing so for many years. Looking forward, this class has already begun to impact my plan for my future quarters at the UW and I'm sure it will have some effect on my future professional experiences. Though Industrial Design remains my focus, next quarter I'm exploring an introductory Environmental Science course. Seeing that some of the student work from the design programs involved environmental issues, I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to work up that alley as well." - Sophomore, Industrial Design
"There have been a lot of things I have enjoyed about this seminar. Throughout the quarter the main thing that I enjoyed would have to be the introduction of sustainability. I have always thought about the ide of sustainability but i could never really define it and to see it used over many different job opportunities and in many different majors was really illuminating. I will take away a greater idea of the sustainability from this class and i will also take away the knowlegde of how sustainabilty could and has worked in the real world. Professionally, I want to attempt to bring in a sustainability program to my fraternity as house manager. Things like recycling and composting and the how we handle our expenses should be done with the future in mind and this class really helped me see that." - Freshman, undecided.
"Something that surprised me was that sustainability is a concept that can be applied to just about anything." - Junior, Psychology
"I’m still figuring out what I want to “do”, and one major that caught my eye this quarter is the LSJ major, which could introduce me to environmental law. Looking over the coursework and the major requirements and the general feedback from students in the major the program was very appealing, so much that I signed up for an intro level class next semester, and I’m hoping that I’ll like it. I know I want to do something with the environment. This class gave me a good idea of how far you can take sustainable philosophies throughout life, no matter which major or career you end up in. I initially only connected sustainability with the environment, but now I see how it can be more than that." - Freshman, Engineering
"I think this class taught me more than I was expecting, and I really liked that. I was surprised to see how practicing sustainability affected so much more than just the environment, like the economy and society. I will definitely be taking sustainability into account at work, and hopefully finding new ways we can be more eco-friendly while at the same time staying efficient. I really enjoyed all our speakers especially our speaker from the School of Design." - Sophomore, Business
"I was so surprised to learn about the many different career and majors in UW and the most mind-blowing thing is all these majors which introduced during the lectures are related to sustainability. Now I truly believe in the importance of sustainability. We all want fresh air and fresh water for our next generation and if we don't start protecting the environment and working on sustainability, it's not possible at all for our children to live in a healthy environment in the future. The biggest take away from this class has to be understanding the links between the economics and environment and also the two frameworks of the sustainability, three separate 'spheres' versus the embedded model. After all this, I decided to get the certificate in environmental economics in my econ department in the next two years. "- Junior, Economics
"It’s very clear that previous huskies have worked to create a foundation of sustainability, progress, and continuous development within the UW. Although my parents really want me to major in a more traditional hard science, this class has made me think about a minor, certificate, or experience, during my undergraduate years, in sustainability or a subset of it. Additionally, I’ve been thinking about looking for a team for the environmental and public health competitions. Both as a possible business opportunity and experience with a team, it would be a great way to get my feet wet. Overall though, I feel like I could more aptly describe, define, and implement sustainability in my future endeavors. This class has definitely clarified my thoughts on this subject and shown me the diversity within the field. Everything is sustainability." - Sophomore, Public Health
"It was a great choice to be enrolled in this class even though I am looking forward to graduate soon. If I were able to take this class an earlier year, then I would consider changing my major to environmental-related. Even though this class was C/NC, the material really made me look into the different fields out in the real world. Although my major is history, realizing today’s environmental issues and showing interest in them were very different and new to me. Because of this class, I enrolled in Environmental Economics to study more about the history of natural resource economics related to my field of study." - Senior, Economics
"Because of this class, I will be more conscientious of how I can make sustainability a part of my every day life. In general, I didn’t realize how much sustainability truly does impact every aspect of our life and that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life." - Senior, Biology
"While I did know a little bit about sustainability coming in, I am now completely aware just how intertwined sustainability is within almost every career path. As I start to apply for jobs and prepare to move to NYC, I am going to keep in mind that there are endless opportunities that involve fields I am interested in and sustainability. Not to mention, if there is not what I am looking for, or a company is lacking in sustainability efforts, it can be created, just as you did at Nordstrom. I have a lot of ideas, goals, and positive energy as I enter a new stage in my life. I am excited for what the future holds and hoping to find a career a find inspiring, motivating, and challenging. Wish me luck and thanks for such an awesome class! "- Senior, Communications
"This quarter I’ve also been thinking more about other possible majors and minors I could enjoy. I am taking a Construction and Culture class that I am thoroughly enjoying; I am now considering majoring in Construction Management as well as in Mechanical Engineering. This class exposed me to several majors and disciplines in which sustainability is the focus. I am glad I took this seminar because it really broadened the list of fields I was considering studying. I am now looking for classes for spring quarter that could teach me more about sustainability, more specifically green energy and renewable resources. I am now more excited about working with renewable resources than I was at the beginning of the quarter." - Freshman, undecided
"I took this class because I am very interested in the environment and sustainability and standing up against climate change. Not only that, but I was confused on what path I wanted to take regarding college and my future. I thought it would be interesting to take this seminar to see how I can mix both together so my career isn’t only for my self-interest, but for that of the environment also. This class did a great job of teaching me that I can mix both. Coming into this class I thought I wanted to double major in psych and business. After hearing from a bunch of professors from different departments and how sustainability connects to their field, my mind was open to many new possibilities. Hearing about how every field connects to sustainability in some way was fascinating to learn about." - Sophomore, Psychology