Education in Sustainability

As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, Luther is committed to making sustainability a part of every student's learning experience. At Luther, 37% of all courses include a sustainability component and 100% of departments have sustainability course offerings.

Courses with Sustainability

Luther College offers both a major and a minor in environmental studies as well as many courses open to all students. From biology to philosophy, geology to sociology, environmental studies is a truly interdisciplinary and engaged course of study. Many of our courses utilize the local area for intensive study beyond the classroom, and all of our students are encouraged to broaden their horizons through off-campus studies.

Learn More About Luther’s Environmental Studies Program

Sustainability-Focused and Sustainability-Inclusive Courses

A course is defined as sustainability-focused if the course title or description points to an explicit focus on sustainability. During the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years, Luther offered a total of 42 sustainability-focused courses. Sustainability-inclusive courses are those in which sustainability is clearly included in the course content. Luther offered 397 sustainability-inclusive course during the 2019–20 and 2020–21 academic years. During the two academic years, 37.14% of Luther’s courses were sustainability courses. Music courses were not included in the scope of the calculation.

Luther Campus as a Living Laboratory

Students and faculty can better understand campus sustainability by using the campus as a living laboratory. In addition to writing papers, or doing class projects about concepts, research can focus on the infrastructure and operations of the college. By applying their research to actual situations, researchers can better understand how to overcome sustainability challenges or make improvements. Areas such as energy, food, waste, construction, diversity, public engagement and wellbeing are possible focus areas for research using Luther College as a living laboratory.

View the list of all Luther’s sustainability and living laboratory courses

Sustainability Research

The majority of Luther faculty are actively engaged in research and they place significant emphasis on involving undergraduates in research. Many of our faculty are involved in community-based research that strives to address the many challenges that we face as a society.

In Luther’s 2022 STARS inventory, 26% of all Luther faculty are actively conducting sustainability-related research and 75% of academic departments have at least one faculty member doing sustainability-related research.

Luther also provides financial support for sustainability research through both grants to students for summer research and funding for larger projects through the Center for Sustainable Communities.

The Summer Student/Faculty Collaborative Research program provides an opportunity for Luther students to engage full-time in collaborative research projects with Luther faculty members during the two months of Luther’s summer session (June–July). Proposals are welcome in all disciplines but special funding is available for sustainability research.

For more information on Luther’s current sustainability related research or to inquire about funding for future research, please contact Jon Jensen.