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Sustainability is a topic that crosses all disciplines. Students can find courses in geography and biology, as well as management, history, and law — all with a connection to sustainability. They can also delve deeper through faculty-guided research in biology, environmental studies, journalism, and many other subject areas. 

Our students and our researchers represent the University of Richmond's greatest potential at achieving a better tomorrow. Though most students reside here for four all-too-short years, the impact of the UR experience last a lifetime. Therefore, we do our best to weave sustainability into the fabric of the University. 

Sustainability Initiatives Across Campus

  • Dual Degree Programs with Duke University and Virginia Commonwealth University: Two joint programs for students interested in earning a Masters degree in environmental studies or forestry. 
  • Earth Lodge Living Learning Community:  Founded in 2005 as the Outdoor House, Earth Lodge provides students interested in the outdoors the opportunity to live and study together, promoting interdisciplinary engagement and discussion. 
  • Environmental Justice Think Tank: A collection of faculty, students, and staff from the Center for Civic Engagement and the Office for Sustainability worked together to strengthen environmental justice learning opportunities among existing and new partners. Their efforts resulted in this compilation of opportunities for involvement on campus and in the community. 
  • Environmental Studies Program: Integrates the study of interactions among physical, chemical and biological components of the environment. Students take many courses in the natural sciences, but not at the expense of courses in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Geography and the Environment: Geography cultivates informed and engaged global citizens through an emphasis on integrative problem solving, spatial analysis, and communication skills. Our department bridges the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to provide a better understanding of the earth's cultural and biological diversity.
  • Global Environmental Speaker Series: Each year the Department of Geography & the Environment, the Environmental Studies Program and International Studies Program partner to bring noteworthy speakers and scholars to Richmond to present lectures related to our global environment. All events are free and open to the public. Funding is also provided by the Class of 1992 Environmental Awareness Endowment.
  • Parking Lot Project: Transforms a University of Richmond parking lot into a yearlong, collaborative artwork, driven by students from diverse disciplines. Individual parking spaces are excavated to be green spaces alongside functional spaces, disrupting the parking lot’s identity. Students redevelop the spaces as sites for independent research and public art, while considering questions about sustainability, land use, and landscape on their own terms – as artists, scholars, and citizens.
  • River City Project: The River City Project aims to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. During the two-day workshop, core concepts of sustainability including the environmental, social, and economic pillars of sustainability will be introduced and participants will be guided through the process of linking these ideas to a course they teach.
  • Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies (Law): The Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Richmond School of Law engages in research, instruction, and public outreach on energy and environmental issues in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. The center hosts conferences, symposia, and speakers on pressing environmental issues, generating dialogue for policy solutions.
  • School of Professional and Continuing Studies: SPCS’s environment and sustainability programs encourage and teach sustainable living, ecological stewardship and environmental leadership. Our courses enable professionals and do-it-yourself-ers to learn and lead by implementing sustainable design and practices in their everyday lives. SPCS offers certificate programs in implementing green practices and technology in home and business, open-enrollment classes offer hands-on experiential opportunities, and intensive summer institutes for professionals.
  • Sophomore Scholars in Residence Programs: In the Sophomore Scholars in Residence (SSIR) program, sophmores with shared interests immerse themselves in an academic topic during a year in which they live, study, and travel together. Learning occurs both inside and outside the classroom. SSIR takes the traditional coursework, reading, and research in class and adds experiential opportunities outside of class to further enhance learning. While many of the SSIRs engage in sustainability-related discussions, two are framed largely around sustainability issues: Eating Locally, Thinking Globally and Protected Lands of the American West

Below you will find links to some of our other cornerstone environmental and sustainability-related academic opportunities. 

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