Environmental Studies at UVM

Emily McLean '16

ENVS major in the College of Arts and Sciences, concentrating in Environmental Policy and Development, with a double-minor in business administration and nutrition and food science

When I first started looking at colleges, I thought I wanted a smaller liberal arts school. Thankfully, I chose to attend UVM. I love the atmosphere, the people, and most importantly, I know it’s going to prepare me well for my future. I am an ENVS major concentrating in environmental policy and development, and double-minoring in business administration and nutrition and food science. I chose to major through the College of Arts and Sciences because of their wide range of distribution requirements. Burlington is the green capital of New England. ENVS students witness the green policy battles that are happening here, such as the controversy over the F-35 fighter planes and the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. We are also exposed to many activist groups and individuals here who got their start at UVM.

UVM allows me to pursue my passion—animal advocacy and protection. To supplement my environmental courses, I am quite involved on campus. I am the secretary for Vermont Students for Animal Protection, a club focused on improving conditions for companion, farm, and lab animals, and endangered wildlife. I am getting hands-on experience working with live animals and learning how to navigate the politics of animal rights. I am also co-president of my hall council, one of seven on campus. With 2,000 students under my jurisdiction, hall council gives me leadership experience. Freshman year as an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) participant I spent the week volunteering at Animal Rescue New Orleans, established after Hurricane Katrina to aid the hundreds of dogs and other companion animals found wandering through the wreckage. This year I will be leading an ASB group. Lastly, I have two jobs on campus: in the UVM Alumni Association office and in the Admissions Office as a member of the Contact Team. I call prospective UVM students and talk to them about life and academics at UVM. 

I plan to study in Germany fall of my junior year with the hopes of learning more about international environmental policy. I also hope to intern for as many advocacy groups as possible, such as Green Mountain Animal Defenders and Environment Massachusetts. I encourage potential ENVS students to keep an open mind. When I came into the program, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. ENVS 1 and 2 both guided me to where I am now. With many topics covered and guest lecturers, my eyes were opened to the many ways to make a difference. I’m not certain what my plans are for after college—perhaps law school—but I do know that I want to do whatever makes the biggest difference.