Dear Purdue Undergraduates,
Welcome to the first issue of Earth Today: Undergraduate Environmental Update. Amid an unprecedented and rather uncertain start to the semester, this newsletter from the Center for the Environment (C4E) brings together environmentally-focused resources and news. In each issue, we will feature: an academic program and a course that each emphasize environmental programs at Purdue; an active, environmentally-driven student club; and an array of events and programs on and off-campus. Other topics will vary each issue, depending on the opportunities available, and information in the sphere of the environment. 
This inaugural issue features a highlight of the course NRES 12500 – Environmental Science and Conservation, which focuses on conservation issues, human impacts, and resource management. We also call into the spotlight the Boiler Green Initiative - an undergraduate organization focused on sustainability that has conducted some invaluable work to reduce our community’s carbon footprint. Further, we provide information on upcoming events and lectures on environmental topics, and current news.
We appreciate your support and look forward to bringing you further resources and information in the future. If you would like to suggest a feature on an event, student club, story, or any changes to the newsletter, please contact Siddharth Sinha, our Research and Communication Intern at
Some environmental courses at Purdue are cross-listed among several other programs. This month's spotlight is on one such popular course, Environmental Science and Conservation. Taught on a regular basis and bringing together professors from multiple disciplines in the colleges of science and agriculture, this is a 'must have' class for many. 

NRES 12500 – Environmental Science and 

Credit Hours: 3.00. Offered Spring 2021.
Cross listed with the environmental majors AGRY, EAPS, and FNR.
Whether you are pursuing a career in forestry or studying agriculture, NRES 12500 welcomes all students with an interest in the environment and its diverse nuances. Introduction to Environmental Science and Conservation emphasizes topics in ecological principles, conservation and natural resource management, human impacts on the environment, toxic waste disposal, climate change, energy, air and water pollution, environmental geology, and geologic hazards. The course is taught by professors Jeffrey Dukes (FNR), Barny Dunning (FNR), Linda Lee (Agronomy), and Nathaniel Lifton (EAPS). As you progress through this course, you will develop and defend opinions on contested topics in conservation and describe conservational issues and concepts. The class also equips you with the information to describe and categorize the work done in five scientific disciplines: ecology, environmental science, resource management, environmental geology, and conservation biology.

Founded in 2006, Boiler Green Initiative (BGI) has pioneered efforts to achieve greater sustainability at Purdue. Comprising of students from an array of majors, the club leverages its interdisciplinary background to stimulate problem-driven discourse on environmental challenges at Purdue University.
Two primary ongoing projects come together through the Boiler Green Initiative – recycling and water management. The club’s current recycling programs are implemented at Purdue football games and Greek life establishments on campus, where they ensure efficient and proper recycling of waste. Further, the club has also produced a video that plays before every football game that encourages fans to recycle.
BGI’s Water Management Committee works to monitor water quality and conservation in the Greater Lafayette Area. The club maintains rain gardens, regularly samples and reports on the water quality of creeks and rivers in the Lafayette area, and hosts riverside and downtown cleanups to prevent contamination.
To stimulate greater environmental consciousness among Purdue Students, BGI also offers its Green Guide, a catalogue of resources that encourage environment-friendly practices ranging from recycling to learning and voting to eating healthier, plant-based meals.
Learn more about BGI’s projects and the resources they offer on the club’s website.
October 8 - 9 | Virtual

The Center for the Environment is sponsoring the 2020 Undergraduate Environmental Programs Virtual Expo. The expo will provide students the opportunity to discuss their academic interests with advisors and current students. 

Learn more about the programs expo here.

Pollution, climate change, and an array of other environmental issues adversely affect us, but do they affect us all to the same extent?

While at first glance it may be easy to perceive that environmental challenges have the same consequences for everyone around the world, it has  drastically varying impacts on different communities.

Below are some events that address the topic of environmental justice, and how we can continue working to achieve it.


Virtual Lunch & Learn - Environmental Justice: Local and Global Struggles

Wednesday September 9 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Please join us as we welcome Mangala Subramaniam to present our first virtual Lunch & Learn event of the Fall 2020 semester. Dr. Subramaniam will focus on the complicated links between local and global struggles for environmental justice as communities confront state and global institutions. She will draw on her own, and collaborative, work to engage with the topic in terms of gender and its intersections with class, caste, race, as well as the need for integrating the technical and the social to adopt an interdisciplinary lens in studying environmental justice.

This will be the first in the Center for the Environment’s year-long program of conversations about intersections between environmental and social justice. All lunch and learns will feature a guest presenter who will speak on topics of Environmental Justice. Events will take place via Webex.

Registration for the event is available here.


Butler Center Lecture Featuring Julie Sze

Tuesday September 16 | 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

The Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence is hosting a talk on "Intersectionality, Institutions and Environmental Justice" on September 16.

The live virtual talk will feature Julie Sze, professor of American studies, University of California, Davis. All faculty, staff and students are welcome to attend.

Registration is available online. For more information contact

Despite restrictions following the response to COVID-19, faculty members continued to offer many opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct research. In this issue, we highlight Danielle Angert and her work on water quality. 

Danielle Angert, an undergraduate student in Environmental and Ecological Engineering, received the best presentation award at the 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (2020) Symposium. Purdue’s SURF program was first implemented in 2003 and since then has served as an opportunity for students to acquire hands-on
interdisciplinary research experiences by pairing undergraduate applicants with a professor and one or more graduate student mentors. Angert, with Kyungyeon Ra (Civil Engineering), participated in the study, “The impact of extended stagnation on building water quality” led by Dr. Andrew Whelton (Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering) and Dr. Caitlin Proctor (Agricultural and Biological Engineering).

While stagnant water may lag far behind in the almost endless list of challenges posed by COVID-19, neglecting water systems present alarming health risks. To understand the extent of changes in water systems ensuing lockdown, the research team, led by Dr. Whelton, analyzed water from 40 different samples. Learn more about the effects of stagnant water and ways to remedy the issue here
​Accompanying the adoption of measures to combat COVID-19 across the country since March, researchers at Purdue have continued to offer their expertise in their respective disciplines to help accommodate the changes mandated by the global crisis. Faculty members at Purdue have made several breakthroughs, such as testing apparatus, modifying extant infrastructure, and exploring the effects of the pandemic on several facets of society to enable a safe and prompt return to normal but nuanced functioning. This link leads you to a brief list of the ways our researchers have contributed to the world’s concerted response to mitigating the coronavirus.
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