Humanities class provides environmental awareness

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By Riley Geeskie, Contributing Writer

Florida Tech students have the opportunity to improve their environmental awareness in a new humanities class this spring.

HUM 3285: Environmental Literature began its very first course at Florida Tech this semester with Professor Natalie Dorfeld. Students get the chance to gain hands on knowledge about some local environments such as the Indian River and the mangroves in Cocoa Beach.

“Many students live here but haven’t been outside the FIT bubble,” Dorfeld said. “Going out to different environments gives students the opportunity to learn about the different habitats and what can be done to help protect the earth.”

“I want students to leave with more awareness of the products they’re using,” Dorfeld said. “Small changes can have huge ripple effects.”

Dorfeld said the environment’s biggest threat was man because people steal turtle eggs and due to a lack of education, people do not realize just how many things can be prevented.

“Man is a super predator,” Hailey Ambrose, president of the environmental club, said. “We are teetering on the edge of destroying our own race.”

The class will focus on various ecological issues to educate students about the world’s fragility and to search for a new sustainable way of life.

Shelby Stansell and Hailey Ambrose are members of the Florida Tech Environmental Club, which does their best to not only educate their fellow peers about sustainability, but also try to help the environment by cleaning up the trash.

“It is a selfless notion to educate yourself about the environment,” Stansell said. “It’s selfish if you don’t.”

Engineering students can take this course as part of their 9-12 required humanities credits. Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, Edward Kalajian, said it is important that engineering students have an understanding about humanities.  

“Engineering is a people-serving profession,” Kalajian said. “There needs to be an understanding of humanities to improve things for everyday living.”

Dorfeld said that students should consider taking the course to be more mindful about the environment and how they may be affecting it.

Students will have opportunities to volunteer at an animal wildlife hospital where animals are cared for, such as turtles that have been injured by dog attacks. Dogs have been known to attack turtles and break their shells, making it dangerous for the turtles to be released back into the wild.

The hospital will repair and tape up the shells and volunteers, such as Dorfeld, will take the time to walk the turtles outside.

“I hope [the course] runs frequently,” Dorfeld said.