Environmental Studies

At Washington and Lee, we take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the environment. Faculty and students from the sciences, the humanities, the social sciences, and law are involved in this approach through research, the curriculum, and a variety of co-curricular activities, including numerous public lectures, service learning projects, monthly luncheon seminars, as well as outdoor activities.

The program is the leader in the U.S. - Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program which coordinates a six-month or one year student exchange with Brazilian Universities, as well as the Chesapeake Bay Program which expands and enhances place-based learning in the upper Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The program curriculum allows students to develop interdisciplinary expertise and an understanding of how insights from different disciplines complement each other. This is not only a unique academic experience, but also one that expands the students’ ability as citizens to be aware of the scientific, ethical, and policy issues they will face in their local communities, their professions and in their broader world community. The faculty approved the program in environmental studies interdisciplinary concentration in 1998 and the major in 2007.

Signature Programs

US-Brazil Exchange

A six-month or one year cultural immersion experience where students learn Portuguese, live in Brazil, take courses, and perform research related to energy and the environment.

Chesapeake Bay Program

A place-based learning initiative confronting regional and national issues pertaining to the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Spring Term Abroad

International experience is viewed as an important part of a comprehensive education. The purpose of Spring Term Abroad is to further one’s knowledge of the world and its cultures and to expand the opportunities and arenas for academic inquiry.

Service Learning

Practical application of student knowledge of environmental issues based on supervised volunteer work in the greater Rockbridge community.

Student Environmental Action League (SEAL)

A student organization dedicated to increasing environmental awareness, promoting campus sustainability, and informing students about environmental service opportunities.

In Memoriam

John Spencer '13John Kyle Spencer, a 2013 graduate of Washington and Lee's Environmental Studies Program, passed away unexpectedly in January of 2016. As a major in both Philosophy and Environmental Studies, John embraced the interdisciplinary nature of Environmental Studies and the myriad learning opportunities the liberal arts curriculum offered him. At the time of his death, John was a graduate student in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia.

Read more about John and the plans to honor his memory at W&L> 

University Environmental News

Danielle Breidung, Washington and Lee Class of 2013

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Danielle Breidung '13 Named Lowcountry Emerging Leader

The Islands Society named Danielle Breidung, a 2013 graduate of Washington and Lee University, as its inaugural Lowcountry Emerging Leader by its constituent society for the Lowcountry — the Sea Islands Society. She received the award based on her focus on empowering local communities in the Lowcountry through collaborations with human services and other organizations in South Carolina.

Upcoming Events

Date Event
Sep 28
ENV 110 required Global Warming Lecture
Science Center Room #A214
Sep 28
Controversial Canines
VMI Gillis Theater , 7:30 PM
Oct 5
ENV 110 required Global Warming Lecture
Science Center Room #A214
Oct 19
ENV 110 required Global Warming Lecture
Science Center Room #A214
Oct 27
"Vines, Petals, Nerves: Feeling Floral Skins" -- Lara Farina
Hillel House Multipurpose Room (101), 12:15 PM