Environmental Studies Program Established as President Obama Announces $2.3 Billion for Clean Energy Jobs

Jersey City, N.J. – On Friday, January 8, 2010, Saint Peter’s College established its Bachelor of Science degree in environmental studies effective with the fall 2010 semester. This new major was implemented as President Barack Obama announced a tax credit program that will allocate $2.3 billion for the clean energy manufacturing sector, which is expected to create 17,000 jobs. With private firms investing $5.4 billion, this will also allow for the creation of an additional 41,000 jobs.

“The president’s announcement of funding to advance employment in the environmental sector of our country could not have had better timing,” Saint Peter’s College President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., stated. “We’re proud to be able to provide our students with the expertise to effectively fill career roles in the sustainable energy industry.”

The environmental studies program at Saint Peter’s is aimed at providing students with the educational background and leadership skills necessary to effectively address the issues involved in the social, economic, political, cultural and technological context of ecological sustainability.

In 2008, President Cornacchia signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Since then, he has taken significant steps to reduce the College’s carbon footprint, such as contracting wind energy to power the entire Jersey City campus, eliminating the use of Styrofoam products on campus, reducing paper for communication purposes and implementing the use of non-toxic cleaning products.

“As a Jesuit, Catholic institute of higher education, we have a deep-seated and moral obligation to protect our environment,” noted President Cornacchia.

The interdisciplinary approach of the environmental studies major will allow students to learn to apply knowledge from the natural and social sciences, business and humanities to the study of environmental issues. Students will also develop capabilities in problem solving, creativity and the scientific method, as well as learn ethical and legal concepts in order to generate solutions to environmental problems and maximize sustainability.

A required internship experience will provide them with the opportunity to integrate theory and practice, and prepare them for future graduate or professional work.

Saint Peter’s College began developing the environmental studies program after recognizing the potential for employment growth in the environmental sustainability industry. According to the organization Green for All, a reported 8.5 million jobs and $970 billion in revenue were generated in 2006 as the result of renewable energy and energy efficient industries in the United States. Additionally, the Green Job Act was implemented in 2007, a piece of legislation that authorized $125 million for national and statewide work force training in renewable energy such as renewable electrical power, energy efficient vehicle and biofuels.

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Saint Peter’s College, founded in 1872, is a Jesuit, Catholic college in the liberal arts tradition located in the heart of Jersey City, N.J., with a branch campus in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and course offerings on the Jersey City Waterfront and at various corporate sites throughout New Jersey. Educating over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 50 programs, Saint Peter’s College is committed to academic excellence and individual attention, preparing students for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service in a diverse and global society.