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Center for Social Concerns


Home > Academic Courses and Programs > Fall Semester Seminars > Energy Climate, Environment, and Social Change

Social Concerns Seminar:

Energy, Climate, and Social Change


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This course will integrate the complex narratives surrounding energy policy and climate change and pursue questions about how these narratives integrate with social change. Students will explore the scientific, environmental, economic, geopolitical, and social implications of current energy technologies, climate adaptation policies, and how these affect the environment – understand as multifaceted in its definition (human life, water, animals, soil, air, etc.). The framing question for the course: How are people and communities affected by energy and climate policies? And, what sorts of efforts and opportunities are there for raising this question to the surface?

The course will utilize selected readings, writing assignments, class lectures and discussions, a day long field trip to Chicago (tentative), and a week-long immersion in Washington, DC. During their time in D.C., students will learn to assess the strengths and weaknesses of alternative energy technologies (wind, solar, geothermal, fuel cells, ethanol, improving fossil fuel utilization, etc.), and of the various policies and economics surrounding energy and climate. During the week in Washington, D.C. students will identify the limitations of current energy policies and environmental regulation through visits to industry lobbying groups, policy makers and government officials, environmental organizations, and federal regulatory bodies. Finally, students will begin to understand the relationship between energy consumption and environmental ethics, especially as understood in Catholic social tradition.

Immersion Dates: Friday, October 17–Sunday, October 26, 2014

Location: Washington, D.C.

Size: 12 students

Cost: $290



  • Final Application Deadline: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
  • Application process consists of two parts: (1) Completed application and (2) Interviews (you will be notified about interviews via email)
  • You cannot register for the seminar until you receive registration information from Seminars staff.

  • Notification of seminar placement will happen on September 1, 2014.

    • If you are not selected for participation in your first choice of seminars, you will be given the opportunity to participate in another seminar if there is still availability.

  • No admittance into the seminar after the first class the week of  September 8, 2014

  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.



Kyle Lantz

Seminar Director

Greg White

Seminars Administrative Assistant


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