Sustainability Major | Baldwin Wallace University

Ohio's first undergraduate sustainability major is preparing a new generation of students for careers as sustainability leaders. 


Interdisciplinary Program

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Sustainability Program Co-Directors

Dr. David Krueger, (440) 826-5923,
Dr. Franklin Lebo(440) 826-8055,



A rewarding career, sustainability offers outstanding opportunities for applying visionary and strategic thinking to helping organizations gain favorable outcomes through sustainable practices.

Baldwin Wallace's major in sustainability is a comprehensive, versatile program offering four tracks of study ­– business, humanities and social sciences, quantitative analysis and natural science.

It combines theoretical study with practical experiences. You'll gain the knowledge to help organizations implement sustainable processes that respect the environment, enhance public policy and increase their profits.

Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of the program.

Current topics bring relevance to your studies and foster multi-dimensional perspectives for understanding ways an organization can reduce its environmental footprint, develop sustainable products and services, measure and analyze data, achieve transparency and be accountable to stakeholders.

A required internship provides practical experience in working with an organization engaged in sustainability. You'll benefit from mentoring and networking opportunities with experts in the field.

Also integral to your studies is an interdisciplinary capstone course that engages you in a team-based investigative study with a real-world sustainability issue.

Sustainability: Harding House Solar Panels  Sustainability: Farmer Jackets  Sustainability: Geothermal Welcome Center


BW's sustainability program offers outstanding preparation for immediate workplace application as well as graduate school studies in law and other fields. Opportunities include:

  • Corporate or municipal sustainability officer
  • Nonprofit environmental work
  • Testing, marketing and sales of green products
  • Environmental consulting and analysis
  • Attorney


Baldwin Wallace launched Ohio's first undergraduate major in Sustainability in 2008 and has earned the prestigious STARS Silver rating from the international Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). BW was also ranked in 2019 as a Sierra Club Cool School, ranking fifth in Ohio in sustainability research and third in Ohio in waste management efforts. BW offers more than 70 courses that have been reviewed for their sustainability content and 25 faculty presently engaged in sustainability related research.


Baldwin Wallace is dedicated to sustainability with an active Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) comprised of faculty, administrators and student representative. It has two solar arrays, wind turbine, innovative recycling efforts and a sustainable living-learning community. BW has five geothermal fields – including the first for a college residence hall – that heat and cool campus buildings. Two buildings are LEED certified. BW has been designated a Tree Campus USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation. The campus is home to more than 1,500 trees, most native of to Northeast Ohio, and Fullmer Arboretum. Students can get involved in the campus sustainability committee, a group that encourages environmentally responsible practices like composting food service waste and the use of green cleaning products.

STARS Silver Seal logo

BW Earns STARS Silver Seal

Baldwin Wallace has earned the prestigious STARS Silver rating from the international Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Sustainability Leader

BW is helping a new generation of students prepare for careers in sustainability. The program gives you the skills to assume leadership roles in researching and implementing innovative programs and protocols that respect the environment, enhance public policy and increase profits.

Sustainability: Campus Recycling

Green Focus on Campus

Baldwin Wallace is dedicated to sustainability. Among its initiatives, BW has two solar arrays, wind turbine, innovative recycling efforts and a sustainable living-learning community. BW also has five geothermal fields — including the first for a college residence hall — that heat and cool campus buildings. Two buildings are LEED Certified.

Sustainability Clinic

You'll gain valuable hands-on learning through BW's Sustainability Clinic. Through the clinic, you can work alongside faculty in a consultant role helping companies make positive impacts on the social, environmental and economic aspects of their organizations.


The sustainability major offers four concentrations of study for students seeking a bachelor's degree:

  • Business – prepares students for careers in business, where sustainability is impacting organizations across functional areas within a firm.
  • Humanities and social sciences – for students who may pursue graduate studies in these areas or who are considering work within nonprofit or government sectors.
  • Quantitative science – a calculus-focused track offering excellent preparation for careers involving mathematical modeling and data analysis.
  • Science – relevant for students whose career or graduate education interests require higher levels of knowledge and literacy in the sciences, especially biology.

View the University Catalog for course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information.

The sustainability major prepares students to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of interaction between natural and social systems
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify characteristics of sustainable societies and impediments to their development or preservation
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ethical issues and considerations related to sustainability
  • Demonstrate ability to evaluate sustainability issues using systems thinking and multi-disciplinary perspectives
  • Demonstrate the ability to interpret data relevant to sustainability

Minor and Certificate Program

Sustainability is also offered as a minor and certificate program. BW also offers a sustainability in engineering minor.

Course Catalog

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. You can enhance your studies through internships, co-curricular activities and other learning opportunities that include:


BW's 20-minute proximity to Cleveland puts you within easy access to corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and more.


Independent study offers students enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom for individualized and advanced study. Students work one-on-one with a faculty member.


BW Sustainability students standing in front of presentation screen.

Real-world applications of sustainability research abound. Students can research a variety of sustainability topics, independently or alongside a faculty member.

Northeast Ohio is the global hub of biomimetic activity. Through BW's partnership with Great Lakes Biomimicry, sustainability students can work with a leading biomimetic nonprofit assisting businesses in rethinking product design and organizational structures to reflect natural principals. 


Biomimicry Club members test their creativity, build team skills and compete for cash prizes. Every fall semester, members compete in the Start Something BW competition, with a top prize of $300. In the spring, students compete for a first-round top prize of $1,000 and second-round regional top prize of $5,000, in the IdeaLabs competition hosted by LaunchNet. 

Student Tended Natural Garden (STNG) sponsors a community garden through which it educates the campus and surrounding community about the importance of composting, sustainable initiatives and local food. The group was developed in conjunction with farmers and experts in green practices. 

Students for Environmental Awareness members work on sustainability events on and off campus, including initiatives like Ban the Bag and Sustainable Foodstops. The impact of the club can be seen across the BW campus, including in the EZH20 water stations, which have taken hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles out of circulation.


Engaged learning is a key part of your sustainability studies. There are numerous opportunities for you to be immersed in real-world experiences with professionals across Northeast Ohio.

The Institute for Sustainable Business Practice is a Baldwin Wallace resource center offering consulting services for businesses, peer-to-peer sharing for business managers and educational programs.

A vibrant part of the Institute is the Sustainability Clinic, a business outreach program that assists regional organizations and entrepreneurs in integrating sustainable business practices into their operations.

Through the clinic, you can work alongside faculty in a consultant role helping companies make positive impacts on the social, environmental and economic aspects of their organizations.

Also beneficial to your career preparation is BW's professional network of sustainability resource people. The network consists of leading local professionals whose work and organizations are devoted to the sustainability movement. Among the organizations represented are BP America, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, Cleveland Clinic, Sherwin-Williams, City of Cleveland and Lube Stop.

View all business student organizations and experiential learning programs.


Baldwin Wallace has long championed the success of its students. Evidence of this can be seen in the extraordinary achievements of its alumni spread throughout the United States and the world.

Nathan OnchuckNathan Onchuck ’16 is the energy and sustainability manager at Ozinga Ready Mix. He led the implementation of a company-wide utility tracking system, manages energy procurement and works with personnel to minimize energy waste. He leads Ozinga’s involvement with the Energy Star and Better Plants programs.

Anna GiordanoAnna Giordano ’15 is GIS analyst at EnviroScience, Inc, a company in Stow, Ohio, that specializes in ecological consulting, ecological restoration, marine services and biomonitoring. She was previously employed at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, where she assisted with the Regional Stormwater Management Program. 

Richard BargielskiRichard Bargielski '14 is pursuing a doctorate in applied environmental anthropology at the University of South Florida, where he teaches anthropology and honors courses. His dissertation investigates the cultural legacy and human health impacts of the Fields Brook Superfund Site in Ashtabula, Ohio. 

Portrait of Eric SokolEric Sokol '14 is an assistant public involvement specialist and project manager at Burns & McDonnell, a global engineering, architecture and construction firm. A certified Envision Sustainability Professional, he supports clients in strategic stakeholder communications, real estate acquisition, right-of-way encroachment management, environmental permitting and project management.

Portrait of Ebony HoodEbony Hood ’13 is cofounder of Syatt, where she leads the U Matter Institute, a youth participatory action research program that culminates with an abroad experience that focuses on sustainable efforts across the environment, government, and ethnic contributions of selected countries. She’s also a community relations specialist with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Emily BryantEmily (Bryant) Katzin ’10 is project manager of the Office for a Healthy Environment with the Cleveland Clinic. She was previously sustainability manager at the Philadelphia Zoo. Her sustainable art is currently exhibited at Art.Science.Gallery. in Austin, Texas, and has been featured in The STEAM Journal. Emily is from Rocky River, Ohio.

Erika Meschkat headshotErika Meschkat ’10 is senior sustainability analyst at the J.M. Smucker Company. In her previous position as sustainability manager for the City of Cleveland, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, she helped lead the 2018 update of the Cleveland Climate Action Plan and the development of the city's Climate Action Plan Racial Equity Tool.

Derek SkapesDerek Skapes ’06 is owner of Everarbor, an outdoor lifestyle company specializing in apparel, landscaping, arboriculture, wildlife solutions and Everbrew, a soil additive made from local brewery and coffee shop waste. From Lakewood, Ohio, he is also wildlife research technician and forestry technician with Cleveland Metroparks.



Full-Time Faculty

David Krueger
Co-Director, Sustainability Program
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Franklin Lebo
Co-Director, Sustainability Program
Assistant Professor of Sustainability

Ph.D., Kent State University
J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Faculty Advisory Council - Sustainability in the Major

Kelly Coble
Chair, Philosophy Department
Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D. in Philosophy, DePaul University

Jill Stephens Fleisher
Associate Dean, School of Social Sciences
Professor of Sociology

Ph.D., Purdue University

Kathryn Flinn
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Cornell University

Helen Muga
Associate Professor of Engineering
Ph.D., Michigan Technology University

Lisa Ponton
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Iowa State University

Ellen Posman
Professor of Religion
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Kay Strong
Professor of Economics
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University

Campus Sustainability Committee

Dr. Franklin Lebo, Committee Chair and Co-Director of Sustainability Program
Charles Vesei, Committee Secretary and Ritter Library Director
Charles Fairchild, Director of Dining Services
Robin Gagnow, Director, Residence Life
Clare Helmer, Student Senate Representative
Randy Hudak, Director of Buildings and Grounds
Dr. David Krueger, Committee Chair, Co-Director of Sustainability Program
Dr. Michael Melampy, Professor Emeritus, Biology and Geology
Barb Pavlinsky, BW Buyer
Professor Paul Penko, Physics
Dr. Christy Walkuski, Director of Community Engagement and Service Learning