Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Green Colleges": An Online Directory

Students looking to apply to college this year have a new online tool to help them in their search. A free directory of environmental information at nearly 2,000 U.S. colleges and universities is now available at www.ourearth.org.

The directory, which is the first of its kind, provides listings of environmental degree programs as well as environmental opportunities and organizations at campuses around the country.

“This is a unique resource that enables students who have an interest in protecting the environment to discover environmental degrees and programs that they might not even know existed,” says Our Earth founder, John Ullman, who is pursuing concurrent masters degrees at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Fuqua School of Business. “Equally as powerful, it enables students to view videos, share ideas, and learn about successful initiatives at other colleges which they can then bring to their own campuses.”

The directory was created by student volunteers at 40 campuses nationwide, including undergraduate and graduate students at Duke. It offers extensive information on undergraduate, masters and PhD degree programs at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities. Fields of study span a wide range of environmental disciplines. The directory also includes links to campus carbon inventories and recycling opportunities, environmentally focused student clubs and organizations, and environmental opportunities in the local community.

Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School, says, "Our Earth has provided a valuable resource. There has been such an explosion of environmental programs recently that it’s become almost impossible to keep up. As a faculty member needing to advise students on opportunities around the country, I'll be visiting Our Earth’s Web site on a regular basis."

OurEarth.org is a nonprofit organization, Web site and grassroots initiative founded in 2006 by Ullman and classmates of his when he was an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University. “Our goal is to transform the way the public finds environmental information,” he says. “The new directory is the first of a series of innovative environmental tools we’re developing.”

The way in which the directory was created is as novel as the directory itself, he adds. “Our Earth’s coalition of student volunteers, its strong academic roots and extensive connections in the environmental community are key to its success. College students and university faculty members are always involved in its projects, and its efforts are supported by dozens of other environmental leaders from around the country.”