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National student publication says FIU best for making difference in climate crisis
Ellen Garcia collects data on native plants in South Florida.

National student publication says FIU best for making difference in climate crisis

January 14, 2021 at 11:30am

FIU is the No. 1 university where students can make a difference in the climate crisis, according to College Magazine.

Written for students by students, College Magazine is a national online publication designed to help students make the most of their college experience. The magazine’s latest rankings list, “Where You Can Make A Difference in the Climate Crisis,” was developed in response to a series of events from 2020 including the Australian wildfires, the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record and melting glaciers, to name a few. Universities were evaluated based on diversity, student organizations and excursions promoting environmental sustainability and resilience, alumni network and the amount and quality of environmental events.

The result is a top 10 list of proactive climate universities with FIU taking the top spot ahead of the University of Miami, Stony Brook, Portland State and Tulane. The authors focused on FIU’s interdisciplinary degree programs, including the diverse degrees offered in the Department of Earth and Environment. They also cited research initiatives, study abroad experiences, student organizations and the university’s efforts to create a sustainable campus as reasons for ranking FIU No. 1.

Assistant Professor Amir Khoddamzadeh said more FIU students are thinking sustainably, a shift he has noticed in the past few years in his Intro to Environmental Sciences course.

“They have more concerns about climate change,” he said. “If you talked about climate change 17 years ago, many people would ask you about the evidence, but I think now we can feel the evidence.”

The impact of FIU’s efforts on South Florida’s ecosystems was also highlighted by the magazine. Earth and Environment master’s student Ellen Garcia explained to the authors how the partnerships with the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Montgomery Botanical Center and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden aids her research on orchids. Garcia is studying the reintegration of native plants and restoration of environments in urban areas. This work is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Innovation Curriculum for Agriculture Training and Career for Hispanics grant, the FIU Agroecology Program and the FIU Institute of Environment.

College Magazine features content for students including rankings, college guides, academic advice, college prep, career advice, student health and collegiate dating tips. Authors and editors are college students from universities throughout the United States.