Energy, Climate, and Social Change

Social Concerns Seminar
CSC 33985

This course will examine the complex narratives around the role of energy in society and its relation to the current climate change discussion. Focusing on various policies and practices and how those shape our global energy context, students will consider hopeful solutions toward a more sustainable energy and climate model. For the first four days of the immersion students will meet in Washington, DC with a wide spectrum of industry leaders, government officials, regulatory agencies, and environmental advocacy groups in their efforts to resolve contemporary energy and environmental issues. The latter portion of the trip will be spent in eastern Tennessee at Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center—engaging a community that lives out a sustainable and thoughtful approach to life.

The course will utilize selected readings, writing assignments, class lectures and discussions, and a weeklong immersion (Washington, DC and Washburn, Tenn.). During their time in Washington, DC, 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. 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: October 14–October 20, 2017

Location: Washington, DC and eastern Tennessee

Size: 12 students

Seminar Fee: $300

Application Process: 
  • Final Application Deadline: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 11:59 p.m. 
  • 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 August 28, 2017.
    • 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
  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.
  • With questions about your application, email

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With questions about your application, email

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