More students at UCSD going ‘green’


From energy economics and sustainable building designs to water conservation and biofuels made from algae, sharply higher numbers of UCSD undergraduates are opting for majors and minors, classes, internships and research projects that emphasize environmental sustainability.

This year alone, the number of students minoring in environmental studies doubled to 60 and environmental engineering majors increased 50 percent to 92. In the eight years since the Division of Physical Sciences created the environmental systems major, enrollment has grown from a handful of students to more than 200 registered this fall.

Greater interest in sustainability is evident among UCSD undergraduates in all six colleges and every school and department. Experienced faculty members say they haven’t seen such fervor since the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960s and ‘70s.

The opening celebration in November of the university’s new Sustainability Resource Center was led by members of the Student Sustainability Collective, a student-financed and student-run group now housed in the center. The collective’s six teams work on activism and community outreach related to water conservation, public transportation, urban development, waste and energy, civil and human rights, and sustainable foods.