• Gain a multidisciplinary introduction to many environmental concerns relevant in our world today and gain skills for finding solutions.
  • Develop a greater sense of place on campus and beyond.
  • Be a part of a growing community of students and faculty with aligned passions.
  • Develop environmental leadership skills alongside peers.
What Students Say:

“I’m an outdoor enthusiast and knew I would probably become an environmental studies major at St. Olaf. I thought EnCon would be a great way to not only meet like-minded people within my major, but to test the waters of Environmental Studies. Being a part of EnCon has been one of my favorite parts of my St. Olaf experience so far. It’s made me more inquisitive, more curious and understanding, and an overall better citizen. My eyes are opened to more than what lies on the surface and I hope to maintain the perspective that EnCon has provided me. I really loved the thoughtful and intentional conversations that grew as a result of EnCon. And from that, the family and community that grew and continues to grow here on campus. I didn’t really know what EnCon would hold for me when I applied, but I’m positive it’s made me a better student and person.”

-Courtney Bachmann ’17

“I learned that change (big and small) can and must come from all of us because we cannot depend on someone else to solve a problem that affects everyone. EnCon fostered friendships and positive attitudes about taking action against the environmental crisis. Because of it, I have made little changes to reduce waste  and improve the condition of our environment and I hope that my actions then reflect onto those around me. Come to the Environmental Conversation prepared. Prepared to learn, prepared to converse, and prepared to become incredibly passionate about the world we live in.”

-Suzanne Hanle ’17

What Faculty Say

“Teaching EnCon students is a joy because they come to class eager to learn about the complex systems and practices that support and degrade the environment. In the two years that I taught EnCon, I watched first-year students evolve into environmental scientists and humanists, community leaders, farmers, and innovators. ”   

– Rebecca Richards, Assistant Professor of English

“I truly enjoy the richly diverse tapestry of interwoven thoughts, ideas and experiences expressed by my students as they attempt to articulate it means to be human, live in community, make intentional choices, and fully embrace one another as part of nature.  The opportunity to dig into common readings from one semester to the next enabled students to examine texts in different ways and express the evolution of their thoughts.  Learning from one other in and out of the classroom, listening to the landscape, and volunteering in the community, gives all participants a sense of shared place, a glimpse at the mysteries of the universe, and reveals the rich community we have in one another and the earth.  It stimulates love for people and for place.” 

– Paul Jackson, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Studies

“Student discussions in EnCon are unusually intense, focused, and trusting. Perhaps that’s because every student has already announced a shared interest in thinking about environmental challenges, just by choosing to participate.  At the end of the year, students can combine scientific, religious, and literary perspectives in interpreting complex ecological issues.  And after the year is complete, EnCon “graduates” become part of a large community of students seeking solutions. “

– David Booth, Associate Professor of Religion