Indy Burke, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, addressed the incoming Class of 2020 on Monday, imploring them to use their knowledge and passion to create positive change within the Yale community and throughout environmental disciplines.
“You are now part of a critical, thoughtful, ambitious community,” said Burke. “You are characterized by your creativity, your passion for a sustainable future, and your mutual respect for one another and the diverse viewpoints you share.”
The 156 members of the Class of 2020 come from 30 U.S. states and 24 countries, including Turkey, Nepal, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Japan, and, for the first time in School history, Myanmar. They represent more than 100 different colleges and universities worldwide and bring with them an average of four years work experience. The class is 59 percent female and 41 percent male.
The newest F&ES students spent most of August completing the School’s traditional summer modules, or MODs, a three-week orientation period when students become acquainted with each other as they learn essential skills for careers in environmental research, management, and policy. During MODs, the incoming class is split into three groups, which each spend one week at Yale Myers and Great Mountain forests, respectively, and the third week studying New Haven’s urban ecosystems.
As classes begin for the 2018-19 academic year, F&ES is continuing the implementation of initiatives from the School’s strategic plan
. Students in the Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) degree program are being introduced to a new interdisciplinary curriculum
, which now combines subject specialization with foundational skills, career development, and the flexibility to study other disciplines.
The School will also continue to host a series of events and forums to promote open discourse on issues related to diversity and inclusion, according to Thomas Easley, Assistant Dean of Community and Inclusion. “I have a lot of hope,” he told the students on Monday. “Your passion, your energy — even things you may not be happy about. We need all of it.”