Dear undergraduates,

Happy November! We hope you’ve been enjoying the vibrant colors the fall season has brought to our campus. Remember to get out and vote tomorrow if you have not already.

In this issue of Earth Today, we spotlight the College of Engineering’s Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) program for undergraduates, along with a requisite course in EEE - Environmental Sustainability Engineering. Also highlighted is the Society of Environmental and Ecological Engineering, a student organization that strives to address environmental issues and foster discourse on the environment through an array of activities and events on campus.

The Center's year-long program of conversations on environmental justice continues this month with a virtual Lunch & Learn lecture on November 11, presented by our Associate Director Laura Zanotti. In the second iteration of our environmental justice film series the film También la Lluvia (Even the Rain) will be screened on November 23.

Lastly, we feature the research of undergraduate students Liana Zogbi and Georgia Scalfano, who investigated challenges concerning water quality in the arid region of Arequipa, Peru. 

Thank you for your support! If you would like to suggest a feature on an event, student club, story, or any other feedback, please contact Siddharth Sinha, our Research and Communications Intern, at
Environmental and Ecological Engineering

The Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) undergraduate program extends students the opportunity to illustrate their passion to address human and environmental health. Students gain technical understanding of environmental systems, systems engineering, biology, and chemistry and apply it to develop resourceful strategies that promote sustainability. The EEE program at Purdue centers on a broad systems perspective, which focuses on environmental interactions and reliant designs, and encourages students to tackle problems from an integrated perspective that considers environmental issues and ecological aspects. 
Careers in Environmental and Ecological Engineering
EEE graduates can choose career pathways including: Water and Watershed Stewardship; Pollution Control, Monitoring, Abatement and Remediation; Industrial Systems; Sustainability. Positions are available at businesses, industries, all levels of government, as well as with international organizations.

Follow this link to learn about the experience of Jenna, a student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering.

EEE 35500 – Engineering Environmental Sustainability

Credit Hours: 3.00. 

Serves as an introduction to the examination of:
  • Global-scale resource utilization
  • Food, energy and commodity production
  • Population dynamics and their ecosystem impacts
Invites students to:
  • Think creatively
  • Collect and analyze pertinent data
  • Perform necessary quantitative analyses to develop original and innovative management strategies for real-world sustainability problems
Students are asked to evaluate varying perspectives by identifying multiple dimensions that comprise the conversation on sustainability, including:
  • environmental,
  • social,
  • political,
  • and economic aspects of the discourse
Students attain a broad perspective of global sustainability issues that span several cultures while enhancing their global literacy, awareness, responsibility, and leadership skills. 


The Society of Environmental and Ecological Engineers (SEEE) at Purdue links students, faculty, administrators, and alumni in EEE. It also brings together students interested in contributing to the discourse and initiatives on environmental issues through social and professional gatherings, volunteer work, and interactions with other related student groups.

We spoke with Erica Wang, a member of SEEE, who says, "SEEE is a great way to get involved within the major and to make friends in EEE." My favorite part about being a member of SEEE has been becoming so involved within the major and meeting people I never would have met because they aren't in my class.”

Last year, SEEE implemented a recycling education initiative focused on addressing the lack of information about recycling contamination and common materials. The club also kicked off a food waste campaign to encourage the use of food waste bins, and hosted speakers to talk about the food waste program in West Lafayette. However this activity was postponed due to COVID-19 safety precautions. This spring, the student club is planning a trash clean-up day on Chauncey, should the conditions allow. 

If you would like to learn more about the SEEE, follow them on Instagram @recyclepurdue

Virtual Lunch & Learn: Intersections between Environmental Justice and Indigenous Rights

Wednesday, November 11, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM | Webex

Building on the Center for the Environment’s year-long program of conversations about intersections between environmental and social justice, Dr. Laura Zanotti, C4E Associate Director and Professor of Anthropology, will highlight frameworks of environmental justice and ways they have been mobilized at both sites of global environmental governance and in national contexts to support Indigenous Peoples' rights. Reflecting on collaborative partnerships with Mebêngôkre-Kayapó Peoples, she will detail current threats facing Indigenous Peoples rights in Brazil and pursuits for justice. All are welcome to attend. Register here.

Monday, November 23, 6:00 PM | Virtual 

The 2020-2021 Environmental Justice Film Series continues with the film También la Lluvia (Even the Rain), a story about a director and producer who travel to Bolivia to shoot a film depicting the conquests of Christopher Columbus and, while there, find themselves embroiled in controversy. The film will be followed by a post-screening discussion. 

The Series is Co-Sponsored by the Center for the Environment, Native American Educational and Cultural Center, The Department of Spanish and Portuguese/School of Languages and Cultures, Department of Anthropology, The Arequipa Nexus Institute JEDI Postdoctoral Working Group, & The Division of Student Life.

Register for the screening here.
Want to address issues concerning environmental sustainability while working with Purdue researchers? Global sustainability is one of the strategic areas the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) program is supporting undergraduate students to investigate this spring.

The DURI program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to be an integral part of innovation and discovery, garnering themselves experience and challenge of working in a cutting-edge setting. Students can apply for one project of their choice from October 30 through November 13. Learn more about the internship program here and how you can win DURI’s $1000 spring fellowship.
Undergraduate students Georgia Scalfano and Liana Zogbi participated in a cross-cultural research study established by the Center for the Environment's Arequipa Nexus Institute in partnership with the Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship. They traveled to Arequipa, Peru, an arid and mountainous region characterized by its strained water supply that is divided between households for daily needs and the terrain's irrigated agriculture.

Georgia, who studies Environmental and Ecological Engineering, sought to identify a reliable water quality index by comparing three established indices of water quality to communicate to the locals about their water quality.

We spoke with Georgia about her research experience in Arequipa, who said, “This project has allowed me to work with some very talented and extremely knowledgeable people, and I am so grateful for the experience. Throughout the study, I have been able to translate documents in Spanish, learn to use QGIS and ArcGIS, and learn more about water quality parameters and indices. I have been able to apply my knowledge from the classrooms at Purdue to the real world. It is such a valuable experience to work on a project that will have a positive impact on the community in Arequipa, and I am very grateful to have been a part of it.”

Liana, an undergraduate in EAPS, worked to locate a link between Arequipa’s water quality and watershed characteristics. She also looked at how human activities impacted water quality. “The most valuable part of working on the Nexus project has been the knowledge that my work as an undergrad is actively being implemented in a real-world scenario, joining in on the efforts to drive a change in improving water quality in Arequipa,” she noted. She added “Additionally, I have gained numerous skills in data evaluation and analysis, QGIS application, as well as analyzing other academic resources. Collaborating with Dr. Laura Bowling and Katy Mazer has provided me with great mentorship and has been an advancing and invaluable learning experience.”

You can view Liana's and Georgia's research posters and abstracts here.

Scrub Hub: Where does my recycling go after it's picked up from the curb?
Learn about the do's and don'ts of recycling and how your waste is recycled when you get rid of it.

Energy and the Economy
While it may be commonly believed that clean energy comes at the expense of economic growth, scientists say otherwise. 

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