America’s deep dependency on foreign sources of energy have hurt the country immensely. We’re subject to the whims of an oil cartel and must compete with emerging nations for fuel. Costly fuel that comes at a deep political cost doesn’t make sense. Therefore, seeking domestic options including alternative energy is the path we need to take in to achieve energy independence.
A number of America’s colleges and universities are responding to a demand for trained workers who can develop wind farms, maintain geothermal plants, harness nuclear energy or improve upon existing technology.
James Madison University — Named for the father of the constitution and fourth president of the United States, James Madison is a century-old university found in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, two hours southwest of Washington, DC and two hours northeast of Richmond.
JMU runs a study abroad program which takes students to Saarbrucken, Germany for the summer. While there, students learn about a region of the world that is big on environmental sustainability and will take courses in industrial ecology, alternative energy practicum and related subjects. Lectures, lab work, journal assignments, papers and field trips are part of this program.
James Madison University
800 S. Main St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Wayne State University — This Detroit, Michigan university was founded in 1868 as Detroit Medical College. The 32,000 student university features one of the highest ranked medical schools in the nation and includes top programs in law, nursing and urban policy.
Through the university’s College of Engineering an Alternative Energy Program is offered. That program focuses on four energy sources: wind, solar, hydro and biomass, educating students to work with this emerging technology. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s and master’s certificate level training.
Wayne State University
5057 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202-4050
Oregon Institute of Technology — Established in 1947, Oregon Tech is a 4,000 student public technical school located in Kiamath Falls. This institution offers technical and health science courses on the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is the only college in the United States heated by geothermal energy, thus its strong renewable energy program.
Oregon Tech has offered a Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering since 2005. According to the school, the “…renewable energy program establishes the engineering principles graduates will need to develop, promote, and implement sustainable energy technologies.” Students take courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, electrical and mechanical engineering and are trained in wind power, geothermal, biofuels, renewable energy transportation systems, fuel cells and green buildings.
Oregon Institute of Technology
3201 Campus Drive
Klamath Falls, OR
Arizona State University — More than 70,000 students are enrolled at Arizona State University, the largest public research university in the United States. Tempe is the main campus for this university spread across four campuses in the Phoenix area. Founded in 1885, the school has won high marks for its sustainability efforts.
ASU’s School of Sustainability was founded in 2007 which emphasizes experiential learning, corporate and public school work, research with faculty, leadership and community service. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in sustainability.
Arizona State University
1001 S. Mill Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85281
Photo Credit: Agata Urbaniak
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