At Messiah conversations about humankind’s responsibility to creation aren’t relevant only to environmental science or biology majors.
In May 2010 Messiah College approved a bachelor of arts in sustainability studies, setting it apart as one of only four faith-based institutions offering a humanities- and social sciences-focused degree to Christian students preparing for public service or law careers that seek to make the world a more just, ecologically, and economically sustainable community.
Students majoring in sustainability studies can select from three areas of focus: community and urban development; public policy; and sustainable agriculture.
Sustainability is also at the core of the environmental science major/minor offered at Messiah. Students, in keeping with the program’s goal to “combine scientific knowledge and methods with a Christian perspective about God’s creation and our place in it,” have many opportunities for practical field experience—both locally and abroad. Messiah has a partnership with the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, a fieldwork program with campuses in the Great Lakes, Pacific Rim, south Florida and India. Students also have numerous opportunities to travel with Messiah faculty for fieldwork in destinations such as New Zealand, Belize, Panama, the deserts of the southwestern United States, Costa Rica, Zambia and Patagonia.
In addition, sustainability and stewardship are infused into other courses, including the English department class “Literature and the Environment” and all aspects of the adventure education classes which focus on “Leave No Trace” practices when camping, hiking, caving, rock climbing or canoeing.
First-year students spend an entire unit talking about creation in the required Created and Called for Community course. The unit examines creation from the Biblical perspective as well as from art, contemporary and classic literature and modern culture.