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Environmental Humanities Program receives a Mellon Foundation grant

A $600,000 award to support community-engaged learning and environmental justice

June 29, 2020 – The University of Utah has been awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program focused on environmental justice and community-engaged learning. The three-year grant provides $600,000 to fund graduate fellowships, create leadership pathways for students from underrepresented groups, collaborate with communities directly affected by climate change and environmental racism and work closely with grassroots leaders.
The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s premiere funder for humanities education with a mission to support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education. As a leader in the field, the U’s program trains its students to solve environmental problems using the tools of the humanities.
“The Mellon Foundation’s generous support will empower us to expand our reach, multiply our impact and learn from communities affected by environmental change,” said Jeffrey McCarthy, director of the program. “This exciting opportunity underlines the U’s prominence in American higher education and shows how the humanities connect rigorous scholarship to problem solving for the broader good.”
Mellon support will also help the program build an inclusive, community-based environmental movement. The fellows in the program will affirm indigenous voices, foreground social justice and empower communities at the frontlines of environmental degradation. “Achieving environmental justice is important in a world afflicted by climate change, resource depletion, rising sea-levels, income inequality, racial tension and polluted neighborhoods. Underrepresented communities are disproportionately affected by these impacts and are rarely included in conversations about environmental conservation because their voices aren’t commonly heard, their ideas are often marginalized, and few structures exist to build environmental justice leaders closely connected to the very communities needing solutions. The environmental humanities is an emerging field well-positioned to address these urgent matters,” said McCarthy.
Established in 2005, the Environmental Humanities Program lives in the U’s College of Humanities and draws its faculty from departments including philosophy, communications, languages and English. The program has built stable and deep campus partnerships with contributing faculty from the Law School, Social and Behavioral Sciences and the university’s new School for Cultural and Social Transformation.

Last Updated: 6/3/21