Environmental Studies Club creates connections for members

By Joe Palmer

A new club has sprung up on campus for students interested in environmental studies.

The Environmental Studies Club and is dedicated to creating professional channels and connections for members within the environmental studies field, according to the group’s mission statement.

“Our mission is to develop professional skills and out of class experiences that will help students with futures in the environmental fields,” said Melissa Burlingame, program co-ordinator for the Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy.

Ryan Foley and Maxx Berendt, both sophomore environmental studies majors, started the club, which had its first meeting on Jan. 31. The pair decided to form this club as a resource for students in their major, as well as a meeting place for students who are interested in the environmental studies field, Berendt said.

“We had this idea to start a group that would allow students to learn outside of the classroom,” Berendt said. “We want to look into hosting guest speakers, host workshops and have opportunities for students to learn on a more hands-on level.”

The club is planning to give members the opportunity to serve and work in the community. The club’s goal is to create a professional development network for environmentally minded students, Berendt said.

Environmental studies is a new major at NIU. Since first availability in August, the major has seen a rapid enrollment rate, hitting 50 students declared in its first semester, said Ruthann Yeaton, Environmental Studies office manager.

The club hopes to serve a greater portion of students, besides just those enrolled in environmentally focused coursework, Foley said.

“Our major is a hybrid of a bunch of different majors, with classes that are diverse and many different subjects,” Foley said. “We feel our club will reach out to students from across NIU because the topics we discuss have effects on many different aspects of society.”

The club stresses the importance of developing networking skills and cooperations between other environmentally-edged groups, Burlingame said.

The Environmental Studies Club meets at 7 p.m every Monday in Wirtz 220. Students from all majors are welcome to attend.

Edtior’s Note: Ryan Foley is a member of the Northern Star advertising staff.