Sustainability is a vital part of the culture at Salem State. Whether you decide to major in sustainability, take a class, or choose to participate in one of the many Earth Days events offered on campus, it’s easy to make sustainability part of your education at Salem State. Multiple departments across campus offer courses for students who want to learn about some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet and how to resolve them.
Courses in Sustainability
Ten departments offer more than two-dozen sustainability-related courses in addition to foundational courses, fieldwork, directed studies, internships, and study abroad opportunities. Courses range widely from Global Climate Change to Corporate Social Responsibility to Environmental Politics.
Majors, minors and concentrations in sustainability are offered in the following departments:
Students seeking hands-on experience with campus sustainability issues and projects are encouraged to apply to be a Campus Sustainability Council intern. Interns receive academic credit through the geography and sustainability department and work closely on campus sustainability projects with the Salem State sustainability coordinator. As part of their Campus Sustainability Council work, students are expected to bring student sustainability concerns forward and to provide suggestions and feedback on campus initiatives. To apply, contact the chairperson of the geography and sustainability department.
Faculty Research on Sustainability
Salem State faculty are contributing in important ways to our understanding of pressing sustainability issues and bringing their research findings into the classroom to engage students in important scholarship opportunities. A few examples from the many professors engaged in sustainability research:
Recent Climate Change Publications
During the spring 2022 semester, three faculty in the Salem State University Geography and Sustainability Department published major papers concerning Climate Change, receiving extensive press coverage, including in Forbes and the front page of the Boston Globe. This allowed cutting-edge research on this topic of great interest to Salem State students to be brought into campus sustainability classes. The research is described here.
Professor Stephen Young’s research into climate and environmental change in NE North America showed that New England is warming faster than the world average, with winters warming the fastest. Professor Marcos Luna found that economic and racial disparities in Massachusetts disproportionately expose marginalized populations to natural gas leaks. This work stems from a career focus on environmental justice and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to the analysis of social and environmental inequities. Professor Luna has been appointed to a National Academies of Science committee on using geospatial technology to identify disadvantaged communities.
A new study by Professor Noel Healy argues that tackling inequality is an integral part of combating climate change, identifying multiple pathways by which inequality leads to more emissions. Professor Healy also published a review of obstruction to state-level climate action. The research identified a range of strategies for overcoming opposition to climate action that may advance more effective and inclusive state policy. `
Professor Healy is a member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and his research focuses on how we can transition away from fossil fuels in a just and timely manner.
Lisa Delissio and her research students examined the Peabody Essex Museum’s collection of preserved plant specimens from the Victorian Era. These dated specimens revealed differences in the timing of events like leaf out, flowering and leaf-drop indicating shifting seasons indicative of a changing climate in Essex County. More recent work focused on the hundreds of varieties of tree species found within a local arboretum, resulting in a Level 1 Accreditation.
Mark Fregeau and Ted Maney received NOAA funding to demonstrate that offshore commercial shellfish aquaculture is both viable and compatible with protected species conservation.
Childhood Education and Care
Dennis Rosemartin researches the climate change literacy of pre-service teachers and how to include climate change education into the teacher preparation program at Salem State University.
Geography and Sustainability
As a member of the Climate Action Task Force of the American Association of Geographers, John Hayes has researched and published on the topic of reducing the carbon footprint of large professional scientific meetings via carbon offsets and other means. Hayes also researches climate action planning by local and state governments which serves him well as Chair of the city of Salem's Sustainability, Energy, and Resiliency Committee (SERC).
Doug Allen and his students research carbon sequestration as a vehicle for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and global warming in collaboration with the Department of Energy as part of the Global Climate Change Initiative.
Brad Hubeny engages students in his work using sediment records that have accumulated at the bottom of lakes and estuaries to reconstruct past environmental conditions. This encompasses studying the earth’s climate system to predict future changes and using sediment records to study metal pollution in natural water bodies.
Avi Chomsky is a historian of Latin America in its global context. Her current project on labor, environment, and extractivism in Colombia places the interactions of U.S. economic and energy systems, its foreign policies, foreign mining companies, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, and labor and environmental movements in historical context. She explores labor and environmental components of colonialism, global capitalism, and alternative social and economic projects, and different meanings of climate justice, environmental justice, and environmentalism of the poor.
Her recent books include Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions in Climate Justice and Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration.
Chaerin Yun’s research focuses on the conditions under which inward flows of foreign direct investments (FDI) contribute to achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. More specifically, she is investigating how government policy and the quality of institutions can boost the benefits of FDI in enhancing sustainable development in the most critical areas.
Marketing and Decision Sciences
Xu Hartling’s research interests related to sustainability include climate change and environmental policies, sustainable enterprises, corporate social responsibility, community-supported agriculture, and carbon footprint calculation.
Politics, Policy and International Relations
Jennifer Jackman researches the attitudes of voters, commercial fishers and tourists toward seals and sharks and their management on Cape Cod in collaboration with Center for Coastal Studies, UMass Boston, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance and Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy.