Course Offerings & Educational Events

Professor John Petersen speaks to a class in front of the single mounted solar panel.

Ecosystem Ecology (ENVS 316)

This course offers extensive field experiences that develop student's ability to interpret relationships between what they see and the underlying ecologcial dynamics. The class enables students to engage in research experiences through the process of proposing, conducting, analyzing, and presenting a research project. Often these projects research aspects of the AJLC's building systems or surrounding landscape.

Independent Study

Each semester, winter term, and summer several students from a variety of disciplines complete independent projects focusing on the performance, impact, or evolution of the AJLC for academic credit. Independent study may take the form of a private reading, summer ecological design internship, winter term or senior research project.

Grant Sheely, OC '19, places plant in the Living Machine as part of his independent study project.

Grant Sheely '19, received a Green Edge Fund grant to research the biodiversity of the Living Machine, propose species options to increase that biodiversity, and finally to purchase and plant those species.

Environmental Studies Department

The AJLC is home to Oberlin's Environmental Studies department.  The broad range of courses offered by the department include:

  • Ecosystem Ecology (described above)
  • Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change
  • Environmental Justice and Local Knowledge
  • Energy and Society 

Learn More

Environmental Studies Career Day

The Environmental Studies Program hosts an annual career day every March. Students get the chance to network with alums in environmental-related careers from social justice work to urban planning, investment banking, government work, and more.  Keep your eyes peeled in early March for information about this event.

Environmental Dashboard

The Environmental Dashboard is a real-time feedback system of energy and water use in buildings across Oberlin campus and city. Multiple environmental studies courses take advantage of the Dashboard, most notably the Practicum in Environmental Communication (ENVS 354). Projects from the course include:

  • Introducing and Integrating the Environmental Dashboard Community Calendar Into the City of Oberlin - Madeleine Gefke ‘19 and Ananya Gupta ‘20

  • Encouraging Pro-Environmental Thought through Video Introductions to Citywide Dashboard - Rebecca Wood ‘19 and Antonia Offen ‘20

  • Redeveloping Building Dashboard and ED digital signage for the Toledo Public School System - James Cato ‘20, Lily Jones ‘20, and Otto Vock ‘19

Learn more about these projects and ENVS news in their annual newsletter