Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame

Energy Studies Minor Spring 2016 Update


The number of Notre Dame undergraduate students who joined the Energy Studies Minor since fall 2015 is up by 25%. The growing interest in energy among students seems to be partly due to Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, and the flurry of forums and speakers addressing related issues on campus. Many students also have expressed an appreciation for the minor’s flexibility and breadth, allowing them to choose from a wide array of electives from multiple colleges across campus.

A highlight of the minor this year has been the reformatted capstone class. Students gather to discuss energy in the news and debate topics such as the future of nuclear power in the United States and the role of government in shaping energy policy.  Members of the class also are required to engage in an energy event on campus. For example, several students got up early on a Saturday morning to choose the winning energy-related science fair projects at the Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at Notre Dame.

In December, the first semester students reported on their required “energy experience.” These ranged from work as a marketing intern to plan an offshore technology conference to surveys and studies about wind turbines and nuclear power. Another student gave an overview of two finance intern positions and showed a comparison of alternative methods of financing energy companies.

An information open house for the next class of students interested in joining the minor was held in early April. During that same week, students had an opportunity to visit ND Energy affiliated labs and talk with professors about careers and advances in energy research.  They also had the opportunity to attend two different energy-related forums: A Global Compact for Sustainable Development and For the Planet and the Poor.