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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame to host annual Sustainability Expo

The 2019 Sustainability Expo will be held in the Jordan Hall of Science Galleria at 6:30 p.m. Monday for students interested in learning about research, education programs and professional opportunities focused on sustainability, energy and the environment.

“Sustainability studies at Notre Dame is really multifaceted and we have students from every college and from all different majors who are interested in issues related to the environment, but they come at it from a lot of different angles,” Rachel Novick, the director of the minor in sustainability, said. “The Sustainability Expo is a signature event each year that really brings all the different multidisciplinary aspects of sustainability together under one roof, so students can explore the options that they have for educational programs and research opportunities, as well as internship and career opportunities.”

Barbara Villarosa, the director of business and communications for ND Energy, said the Expo has grown over the years to reach both undergraduate and graduate students.

Over 40 departments, groups and organizations from Notre Dame — in addition to a number of local organizations and companies — will attend the event as resources to students.

“There's been a growing interest by everyone to learn more about energy and the environment and what we can do to get more involved,” Villarosa said. “The field has grown, there’s just so many more job opportunities for students, and we want [the Expo] to match that.”

In addition to the expansion of the Expo, Novick said in the past five years sustainability studies at Notre Dame has grown to support students by bridging their academic interests with their careers.

“We have an alumni mentoring program, so students can find out what it's really like to have a job in particular sustainability fields,” she said. “We added the environmental science major, and right now the environmental science major and the sustainability minor are working together with the Center for Career Development and to do the first-ever environmental’s career track.”

Villarosa said the ND Energy has also worked to increase local and global opportunities to help students better understand the challenges in maintaining sustainable energy worldwide.

“We have a cohort of students going to Cuba and Singapore, and we’re looking at Puerto Rico. We had a group of students this past summer who went to New Zealand,” Villarosa said. “We're trying to make the energy studies minor more than just classroom-oriented.”

Both Novick and Villarosa said they would encourage anyone who is interested in sustainability, energy and environmental studies to attend the Expo and to consider the various programs Notre Dame offers in these subjects.

“The world is changing physically faster right now than it ever has since humans have been around,” Novick said. “I think what these kinds of studies are all about is understanding what's changing, how fast its changing, what the impacts are, who's affected, what can we do better, how can we plan better, how can we be smarter about the way we use resources and how can we support people who are vulnerable.”