250th Anniversary Fund enables students to explore ways to save the planet

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With generous funding from the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education (the Innovation Fund), a new course called the "Environmental Nexus" debuted in the 2017 spring semester. The premise of the “Environmental Nexus” is that the undergraduates of today will be left to deal with the future effects of the global environmental crisis, particularly climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and food and water shortages. These calamities are expected to peak around 2050 when the first-year students of 2017 are around 50 years old. Students in the “Environmental Nexus” choose from one of six precepts that delve into a specific topic, such as ethics, mathematical modeling, laboratory sciences or arts and literature.

Four Princeton faculty co-teach the course. Marc Fleurbaey addresses the political and economic considerations; Stephen Pacala, who developed the class, leads the scientific portions of the class; Melissa Lane guides the ethical discussions of when and how to take action; and Rob Nixon examines how the arts can inspire empathy and action.

The 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education (the Innovation Fund) is the University's principal resource for supporting innovation in the undergraduate curriculum. With the endorsement of their department or program, faculty members may submit proposals for new or reimagined courses in any subject at any level.