Tag Archives: courses

Three Compelling Reasons to Study Sustainability

Why Every Student Should Take an Environmental Management Course

By Gary Survis*

When I graduated Wharton in 1986, sustainability wasn’t even on my radar screen.  Sure the concept existed (it had been introduced in the early 1970s), but the idea of combining business and environment were as unlikely a combination as Barak Obama and Newt Gingrich.  It took me many years, and the evolution of business, to learn that sustainable business in not an oxymoron and represents instead a core knowledge base for virtually every student.  Today, students have the opportunity to gain this understanding while at Penn and, I believe should do so, for three compelling reasons.

1) Sustainability is Ubiquitous. We have moved beyond the hype of the first ten years of the new millennium (think Leonardo DiCaprio attending the Academy Awards in a Prius to demonstrate his dedication to sustainability).  Today, in every facet of our daily existence, whether it is agriculture, energy, computing, or just about anything we touch, sustainable practices are becoming the norm.  I believe, currently, that there are sustainable ways to do things and un-sustainable ways.  In the future, there will just be one “way” which will be the norm… And that will be the sustainable one. Continue reading

New Seminar this Fall: Environmental Management, Law and Policy LGST 215/301

Looking for one more course?

A new seminar version of the course Environmental Management: Law and Policy, LGST 215-301 will be offered this fall semester on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 6:00 pm in Huntsman Hall F92, taught by Professor Eric Orts (Director of IGEL). The course provides an introduction to environmental management with a focus on law and policy as a basic framework and orientation.  The primary aim of the course is to give students a deep, informed, and practical sense of the important relationship between business and the natural environment and to encourage them to think critically about how best to manage this relationship. 

New Format: This is an experimental version of the course to be run as an honors seminar.  Permits for qualified upper-class students will be granted only as space allows.  As indicated, the course will entail an intensive semester-long research paper as the primary formal requirement. The course is open only to honors students for automatic registration, but permits will be issued to junior and seniors who are willing to do honors-level work and to a limit of room remains available in the course. For more information, contact  Prof. Eric Orts (ortse@wharton.upenn.edu)

This Fall: Energy And Its Impacts (EAS 401/501)

The Penn-wide course “Energy and Its Impacts: Technology, Ecology, Economics, Sustainability”  will be offered this Fall 2012, taugth by Professor Noam Lior (an IGEL faculty advisory board member). The course is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-7:30 pm, and is available as EAS 501 for graduate students, and EAS as 401 for Junior and Senior undergraduates. There are no prerequisites for this course, which is open to all Penn graduate students and  to Juniors and Seniors.

The course was developed in cooperation with Wharton, The School of Design, IES, and the Lauder Institute, and it offers students a multidisciplinary approach to the extensive field of energy studies. The objective of the course is to introduce students to one of the most dominating and compelling areas of human existence and endeavor: energy, with its foundations in technology, association to economics, and impacts on ecology and society. This introduction is intended both for general education and awareness and for preparation for careers related to this field. The course spans from basic principles to applications. A review of energy consumption, use, and resources; ecological impacts, sustainability and design of sustainable energy systems; methods of energy analysis; forecasting; electricity generation systems (steam and gas turbine based power plants, fuel cells), energy for transportation (cars, aircraft, and ships); nuclear energy and wastes; renewable energy use: solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass; prospects for future energy systems: fusion power, power generation in space.

The course also allows students to specialize in one or two energy topics they find of most interest by choosing them as their course project assignments.

New Fall Course: Climate Change and Technology

New course for fall: “Climate Change and Technology” EAS 301/505 taught by Professor Andrew Huemmler (an IGEL faculty advisory board member).


Description: “The course will examine Pacala and Socolow’s hypothesis that “Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical and industrial know-how t solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century.” Fifteen “climate stabilization wedges” i.e., strategies that each have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion ons per year by 2054, will be examined in detail. Technology and economics will be reviewed. Socio-political barriers to mass-scale implementation will be discussed. Pacala and Socolow note “Every element in this portfoloio has passed beyond the laboratory bench and demonstration project; many are already implemented somewhere at full industrial scale”.”

Leave a comment if you have taken other sustainability-related courses and have recommendations for fellow students.