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New Ohio State sustainability major exceeds expectations

Interest in one of Ohio State’s newest majors has done more than sustain expectations.
Environment, economy, development and sustainability, or EEDS, was offered for the first time Fall Semester and has received much more attention from students than what was expected.
“Their goal was to maybe have 40 majors declared by the end of this academic year. We now have 46, so we’ll probably sneak up on 100 before the academic year is over,” said Neil Drobny, EEDS program director.
Drobny credits the major’s success to originality.
“(There are) several universities that have undergraduate majors in sustainability, but none of the others have a business component integrated like ours does,” Drobny said.
Though Drobny said EEDS has done a lot of things right, like adding four new courses in the fall and three new courses this Spring Semester, he still has a long list of objectives, which include creating and operating a minor, a student organization, internship programs, employment opportunities and career fairs.
While the list is daunting, Drobny is inspired by being at the forefront of what he sees to be a grand adventure.
“Everything has got to be created, and that’s where the fun comes in for people like me,” he said.
For Drobny, the timing of EEDS could not be better, with the combination of OSU support and student interest.
“It’s like a perfect storm of the good kind,” he said.
But perfection doesn’t always equal success, and Brett Baughman, a third-year in EEDS, thinks the major is doing just fine so far.
“You don’t have to have thousands of students to be in this major for it to be a success,” Baughman said. “(You just need) at least one person who’s very dedicated to it and very passionate about it.”
EEDS is one of five new majors that began in the fall.
Some students agree that student interest and classroom experience can trump enrollment data. Olivia Miller, a third-year in EEDS said the ultimate mark of success is what a specific major can do for its students.
“To me the success of a major in academics is what it provides for students, and so far EEDS has went above and beyond in making us feel at home,” Miller said. “There are monthly meetings (where) we get to meet different professors, we get to meet the faculty that advise, and in a lot of other departments I’ve experienced at OSU, you don’t get that kind of personal attention.”

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