Environmental Leadership

2015-2016 Environmental Leadership Application
Application Deadline: September 7, 2015;
Early Applications Prioritized

Environmental Leadership Program 2015-2016:

Energy Innovation
Exploring the World's Clean Energy Future


Program Objective

The transition from traditional fossil fuels to alternative clean sources of energy has proven to be one of the greatest public policy challenges of the modern era. This program aims to provide unique insights into the problem. Participants will gain a greater understanding of clean energy issues while developing their leadership skills. Students will explore the policy challenges of green energy through lectures and a series of detailed industry-specific case studies.

Participants will interact with leaders in the energy field and conduct a scientific analysis of the factors that promote green building practices. The program includes field labs to the following:

  • U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon (Irvine, CA)
  • U.S. Green Building Council’s International Green Building Conference (Washington, D.C.)
  • Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant (Harrisburg, PA),
  • Harley Davidson Manufacturing Plant (York, PA).  

Geothermal plant pumping heat from the Krafla volcano, Iceland

The program concludes with a student-run research symposium in which participants present the key findings from their green building analysis.

The Environmental Leadership Program is open to all Gettysburg College students who have not completed the Environmental Leadership Program in the past and who have an interest in energy related issues, regardless of their major or previous coursework. Please note that the program is limited to 12 students and selection is done on a rolling basis.  Students who are interested in the program should apply as soon as possible, but only if they are able to attend all components of the program (see tentative program schedule).

The Eisenhower Institute will work with professors and the Provost’s Office to secure excused absences for students to attend field labs.   Please note that Professor Ernst will also teach the Public Policy Senior Capstone at Gettysburg College in the spring of 2016.  Students with an interest in energy policy and who are planning to take the Public Policy Capstone in the spring are particularly encouraged to apply to this year’s Environmental Leadership Program, as it will provide unique research opportunities for capstone projects.


Eisenhower Institute Fellow, Howard Ernst, Ph.D.

Howard Ernst is Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, Senior Scholar at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and the Seiden-Levi Fellow of Public Policy at Gettysburg College’s Eisenhower Institute. Dr. Ernst recently returned from a sabbatical with University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program where he circumnavigated the globe studying energy and environmental issues. He is a co-founder of the Energy Analysis, Policy, and Security Program at the United States Naval Academy. His publications have been adopted by environmental studies programs throughout the country and highlighted by numerous media outlets: including the Washington Post, National Public Radio and PBS Frontline. Dr. Ernst will lead the program by delivering relevant lectures, guiding student discussions, organizing field experiences, and facilitating student research.


Program Components

The program is divided into three complementary components: A) discussions and case study analysis that provide students with the conceptual grounding necessary to understand the challenge of green energy; B) field labs that provide students with direct exposure to innovators in the green energy field; and C) a student run research project that challenges student researchers to apply the tools of social science inquiry to questions concerning the adoption of green practices.

Key Dates: Discussions, Case Studies, Field Labs, & Research



157 North Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Tel 717.337.6685 Fax 717.337.8459

818 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Tel 202.628.4444 Fax 202.628.4445