Majors & Minors

Environmental Studies


At the heart of Southwestern’s Environmental Studies program lies a list of provocative and urgent questions that students will be challenged to investigate.


Laura Hobgood

Professor of Religion & Chair of Environmental Studies Department

Laura Hobgood

Professor of Religion & Chair of Environmental Studies Department

Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies

What is humankind’s relationship to its environment?

How do natural systems operate?

What are some of today’s most pressing environmental issues?

How do we address the complicated issue of environmental justice? 

What are key environmental issues on the Southwestern campus and in Central Texas?

From these starting points, environmental studies students will begin an examination of the world around them that will continue through their time at Southwestern and into their lives beyond the classroom.


Featured Alumni Stories

Social sustainability on university campuses

Southwestern University Nominated for a 2020 AASHE Sustainability Award

Selected from more than 400 applicants, SU is a finalist for the award based on its published research regarding the sustainability of higher-education institutions.

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The outreach project Wander Like Water was born: the Houstons would produce videos for YouTube and social media in which they would showcase not just their travels but also educate viewers about how each water source they’d visit “has a story, an issue, or a threat.”

Wander Like Water

Southwestern alumni adventurers raise awareness about water and educate the public about sustainability.

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"Cruising in an incredible exercise in team building. Confined living space, stressful situations, moments of pure bliss—it’s all a recipe for bringing you closer with your cruising partner/s."

Emma Davis ’14 Is on a Boat!

The environmental studies major is sailing around the world while practicing sustainable living.

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Environmental Studies News

Gaby Garza ’22, Lupe Sanchez ’23, and Christine Vanginault ’23  spread compost on the research plots

Taking SU undergraduate researchers to new heights at 10,000 ft.

Any students out there looking for opportunities to escape the TX heat?  Dr. DeMarco, our plant ecosystem and climate change ecologist, brought a number of research opportunities from Colorado and made them available to SU students.  Check out the work by the first three students: Gabby, Lupe & Christine.

Mister Squinty

Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend, but Cats Are a Pirate’s First Mate

Meet Southwestern University’s Cat Partners club and its furry, feline family.

Tree Campus

Southwestern University Earns Its Fourth Tree Campus Higher Education® Recognition

The honor is awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation.



Environmental Studies Events

Christopher Carter, The Spirit of Soul Food (University of Illinois Press, December 2021)

Environmental Studies Symposium Keynote and Food Tasting, Rev. Christopher Carter, Ph.D., “The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, and Food Justice”

Soul food has played a critical role in preserving Black history, community, and culinary genius. It is also a response to–and marker of–centuries of food injustice. Given the harm that our food production system inflicts upon Black people, what should soul food look like today?

Christopher Carter’s answer to that question merges a history of Black American foodways with a Christian ethical response to food injustice. Carter reflects on how people of color can eat in a way that reflects their cultural identities while remaining true to the principles of compassion, love, justice, and solidarity with the marginalized.

Accompanying the lecture will be three different soul foods, based on Dr. Carter’s recipes, that attendees will share: red beans and rice, vegan cornbread, and peach crisp.

Christopher Carter is an assistant professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego. He is also a pastor within the United Methodist Church and has served churches in Battle Creek, Michigan, and in Torrance and Compton, California.