As we contend with an expanding world population, globalization and climate change, we need to assess the impact of human activities on the environment, and develop plans to manage our resources, including energy and food resources, in a way that acknowledges their finite nature and interdependence of life on this planet. We all need to develop Ecological Citizenship! We have several exciting new programs at HCC to address these problems!    

The Sustainability Studies Program prepares students to pursue careers in sustainable living, in fields such as energy and climate change, environmental research and engineering, public policy and law, resource conservation, corporate social responsibility and urban planning. The program provides a cross-disciplinary approach to learning that enables students to integrate skills and knowledge from multiple sources and experiences, and apply their understanding to personal, professional and civic life.

The Sustainability Studies Program is composed of core courses and program electives in the following four areas of study: (1) Philosophical & Historical Foundations, (2) Environmental Sciences, (3) Social & Economic Justice Education, and (4) Literature & the Arts. These core courses are designed to be learning communities in which students will experience and practice the basic principles of education for sustainability - encouraging collaboration and shared leadership, fostering interdisciplinary learning, integrating community-based learning with academic curricula, and grounding students in a sense of place. There is not only an AA degree offered in Sustainability Studies, but also a certificate for those interested in the topic but majoring in another field of study. This program is intended as a liberal arts education, and is designed primarily for students interested in transferring to a 4-year institution.

Clean Energy Program: With support from the National Science Foundation, we have a new Clean Energy Program. There is a certificate program currently available in clean energy, and a two-year AS degree program. These programs are designed for both traditional college students and non-traditional students that need further credentials to be marketable in the clean energy industry.

The Clean Energy Program will prepare students for employment in the clean energy sector from energy auditing and system installation, to starting your own business. The Clean Energy Certificate courses include (1) Introduction to Electrical Generation, (2) Introduction to Clean Energy, (3) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Methods, (4) Solar Thermal and Solar Photovoltaic, or Wind, or Geothermal - depending on a student's career goals, (5) Green Careers Exploration, (6) Green Building Practices and (7) Clean Energy Internship, as well as an Entrepreneurship course.  All courses in the certificate and degree programs are also applicable to the Sustainability Studies Degree.

Sustainable Agriculture Program: From our personal food choices to the promotion of a healthy food system, we all have some responsibility for producing healthy food. This program will help you understand both the local and global food systems, and the difference between conventional, organic and sustainable practice of food production. You will learn the scientific principles of growing food with an ecological mindset. Much of the lab work will be done in HCC's own organic garden, as well as other area farms. This program will prepare you for careers in sustainable farming, food related small businesses, and participation in setting agricultural policy as well as transfer to the new UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Program. These programs have transfer opportunities at many area colleges and universities including UMass, Westfield State, Western New England University and Cornell University.


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040