With universities across the country facing decreased enrolment, Dalhousie is hoping to attract more students by going green.
Dal announced yesterday it is starting a new program dedicated entirely to solving problems with the environment — the department of Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS).
“The challenges that face human society, that face the planet are terribly worrisome,” said Dalhousie president Tom Traves.
“And we believe that through this program, the college … we will educate students who, in time, will become leaders in tackling these issues.”
The school says the program is the first of its kind in Canada. It is unique in that its professors all have other disciplines. The idea is to have a broad range of professions — architecture, law, engineering, etc. — coming together to solve problems.
The students themselves will take the program in conjunction with another field and graduate with a double major or combined honours.
“No one discipline, no one faculty, can even begin to address the scope of issues like global warming,” said Steven Mannell, a Dal architecture professor and new director of the ESS program.
“These are issues that are so large and so complex and have so many dimensions that it’s only by scholars coming together from a wide mix of disciplines … that we can begin to bring forward solutions.
The new program coincides with the also new College of Sustainability. The college will feature the ESS program as well as public lectures and speeches.
Dalhousie said it has 60 students who say they plan to join the program already, and expect 150 to enroll by this fall. The school thinks that number will double shortly afterwards and continue to grow.