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About the Program

Environmental issues have emerged as among the most important concerns of the twenty-first century. Issues such as global warming, efforts to maintain and restore biodiversity, and the security of food, water and energy resources require our collective attention. The social sciences and humanities have vital roles to play in finding and communicating solutions.

The Environmental Policy and Culture Program offers students an interdisciplinary approach to environmental studies, focusing on the social sciences and humanities in the global commons. Students in the program acquire knowledge and analytical skills that will serve them in a variety of careers including public service in government and jobs in non-governmental organizations, business, law, medicine, and journalism. The interdisciplinary nature of the program makes it compatible with many other programs at Northwestern.

Environmental activism is at the core of the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. Student lobbying led to the creation of the program in 2005. Professor Paul Friesema served as the Program's first Director from 2005-2008 and under his leadership the program expanded significantly. The H. Paul Friesema Award for Environmental Leadership and Academic Achievement is given in honor of him.