Pursuing a Christian Vision of a Flourishing Earth - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Program Spotlight
July 19, 2017

Pursuing a Christian Vision of a Flourishing Earth

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)

When God gave mankind dominion over all the earth, He also gave us a great responsibility; we are to care for the earth and use it in a way that allows it to flourish.

At Geneva College, the call to take care of the earth is taken very seriously, and the commitment is seen in our partnership with the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies.

The Au Sable Institute began in 1958, starting as a camp giving Christian boys a chance to learn about the world. In 1979, it became a formally established institute of environmental studies and has grown with the vision “A global community equipped with environmental knowledge, skills, and ethics to faithfully and fearlessly pursue the Christian vision of a flourishing earth.”

Students at Geneva College can enroll in classes at the Au Sable Institute for May Session, Summer Session I or Summer Session II. Students can earn Geneva credit while studying aquatics, wildlife, sustainability, marine biology and environmental health.

Students live on-campus at Au Sable, and most students will take two courses during a Summer Session. A typical day finds students spending half the day or more in the field. The institute operates on a Tuesday and Friday, and Wednesday and Saturday schedule. Thursday is an integrative day where students and professors in different classes come together and take a field trip to explore an environmental project or problem.

“The integration days are hands on. Everybody is together, and you can look at it from different angles because you have students and professors from several classes all getting together on that day,” says Tobias. “It’s really memorable because you are seeing things firsthand, and you apply what you are learning in practical ways.”

Students take Sunday and Monday off, allowing them to rest and focus on the Lord. They return to their studies with a refreshed mind on Monday.

Assistant Professor of Biology Marjory Tobias ‘94 is Geneva’s Au Sable representative, and she has also taken classes at Au Sable as a student. Tobias says Au Sable is a great way for students to get a personal learning experience that goes into very specific detail and is taught by some professors who are at the top of their field. “Students have access to really top-notch professors. The skills-based learning enhances the high quality education they are getting at Geneva.”

The main campus is in Michigan, but Au Sable also offers courses at Pacific Rim Institute in Washington State. At the Washington site, students have the opportunity to study in different ecosystems than those existing in Pennsylvania or Michigan. Au Sable also offers courses in Costa Rica and India.

Students majoring in Environmental Science are required to take four courses over the summer at Au Sable, but those without science backgrounds can also benefit. Tobias says students interested in missions can gain helpful knowledge in classes like Tropical Agriculture and Missions, Ecological Agriculture and International Development & Environmental Sustainability.

The commitment to caring for the environment extends beyond the classes and the education at Au Sable. “You eat, breathe and live it,” Tobias says. “Everything Au Sable does is focused on what is healthy for the environment and what is healthy for us.”

One of Au Sable’s biggest strengths is teaching students to think about things from a Christian worldview. Tobias says, “When students look at environmental problems from a Christian perspective, they ask how we should be involved with this as Christians and how we should engage the culture on these issues.”

If you are interested in learning more about Geneva’s Environmental Science program, visit http://www.geneva.edu/academics/majors/environmental_science or contact Admissions - admissions@geneva.edu or 800-847-8255.

- Andrew Domencic ‘19