Environment Major Triples Enrollment

Karyn L. Rogers '95 is a member of Harvard's newest concentration, and she's very happy to be there.

Even though the Environmental Science and Public Policy (ESPP) committee draws professors from several different schools and disciplines, her curriculum problems are always "immediately solved," she says.

Rogers is not the only student applauding the interdisciplinary approach in ESPP. In just one year, the concentration has nearly tripled its number of concentrators.

"They're doing a great job in accommodating what interest there is in the different disciplines," says concentrator Forrest S. Briscoe '95.

The concentration, launched in 1993 as a revolutionary cooperation between the Kennedy School, the Law School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), now has more than 80 students. Originally, it drew only about 30.

"I believe that what draws students to ESPP is the fact that people from other schools--the Kennedy School of Government, the Law School and the Business School--are involved in advising and teaching in this area," says Rotch Professor of Atmospheric Science Michael B. McElroy.

But interdisciplinary is not the only thing ESPP is doing right. Unlike many concentrations at Harvard, the major gives students personal attention and advice.

Rogers says she was awed by the availability of faculty members with a variety of academic backgrounds.

"ESPP students have so many professors at their disposal," she says.

The students joining ESPP come from a number of traditional departments, primarily Government, Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences.

The ESPP faculty even assists students in lining up job opportunities related to the program that may provide a stimulus for senior thesis ideas.

"We have students working on Capitol Hill on environmental science policy issues, while others have internships at chemical waste disposal companies," McElroy says.

Hot Issue

The concentration is also expanding because of rapidly growing interest in environmental issues, concentrators say.

"ESPP's growth reflects genuine interest in environmental issues and a fear that our generation is entering a world where money and resources will have to be spent to clean up after our lifestyle," Briscoe says.