NEW WILMINGTON, PA – Westminster College was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to support environmental education and research facilities.
The Center for the Environment will serve as the epicenter for educating Westminster students in the fields of environmental science and environmental studies, as well as students from other disciplines interested in environmental issues. The new Center will be located within the Hoyt Science Center, the College’s central hub of scientific learning and research.
The grant will enable Westminster College to develop spaces that go beyond the traditional science classroom, incorporate energy efficiency and sound environmental design, and promote sustainable approaches to student learning.
“We are grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this grant to establish the Center for the Environment, which we believe will support students who want to learn more about environmental studies and science,” said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson. “Our environmental programs have enjoyed successes and good enrollments over the years, and our faculty and students have partnered with community groups to complete important and innovative environmental projects. A dedicated environmental center will only enhance our ability to educate our students and allow us to continue doing what we do best: pushing our students to reach their full potential.”
Dr. Helen Boylan, professor of chemistry and coordinator for the environmental science and environmental studies programs, said the development of the Center for the Environment will build on the College’s long-standing environmental science major. This program is great example of Westminster’s commitment to delivering exceptional STEM programs grounded in the liberal arts, Boylan said.
“This opportunity will allow us to engage students at a higher level and advance environmental education for a more sustainable future,” Boylan said. “Through this grant, we will be able to enhance experiential learning, community collaborations, and research to support high impact undergraduate environmental education.”
The new center will also support multidisciplinary and civic activities, as well.
Recently Westminster’s environmental science, business, and education faculty offered a two-course experience for STEM and business students to apply project management skills to a local environmental issue—the potential for harnessing solar energy in New Wilmington. Students and faculty presented their findings to the New Wilmington Borough Council. In fall 2017, a Tiny House built by students and community partners, was dedicated as an on-campus living sustainability lab.