Environmental Leadership

Explore politics, power, justice, and the environment.

Field research 2019

An exploration of environmental justice in the United States

Understanding the political and economic forces that drive unequal access to environmental goods (clean air, clean water, healthy food) and unequal exposure to environmental harms (pollution) is central to the study of environmental justice. 

Environmental Leadership, led by Howard Ernst, Senior Scholar at University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and Professor of Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy, provides a select group of Gettysburg College students with a unique opportunity to gain a greater understanding of environmental justice issues, to apply social science research methods, and to develop their leadership skills.

These objectives are achieved through guided discussion sessions, readings, and the completion of an original research project in which participants work as a research team to plan and implement a rigorous field analysis (conducted during spring break). The project culminates with the research team presenting their key findings and policy suggestions at a public symposium at Gettysburg College. Throughout the program, students are provided meaningful opportunities to interact with environmental policy leaders and to learn from leading scholars in the field. Each student will lead a major aspect of the research project and will help plan and implement the spring field study.

This program is designed from a social science perspective and is not intended for students who desire to conduct natural science research. It will focus on the competing values and economic pressures that fuel environmental justice issues, as well as the politics of environmental justice remedies. 

The program is divided into three complementary parts: structured discussions that provide students with the conceptual grounding necessary to understand environmental justice; field experiences that enable students to research the annual theme; and a student-run symposium in which seminar participants present the key lessons from their research.

2021-22 Schedule

Applications closed