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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC classes become a bit greener

DIn the spirit of environmental consciousness on campus, DVC is now gearing some of its curriculum towards ecological responsibility.

Engineering instructor Joe Valdez has created a new associate of science degree in environmental science, which is available this semester.

The degree centers on environmental concerns that have an impact on the human race, ecological systems and energy diversity.  

“We didn’t have a program dealing with the issues of water resources, water conservation and energy in California,” Valdez said. “It’s a hot topic.”

The associate degree in environmental science includes courses in engineering, biology, chemistry and math. These courses match those in CSU and UC environmental science programs, Valdez said.

“[Instructors and administrators] are for it because it’s an interdisciplinary degree, the first on campus, and it utilizes courses already existing,” he explained.    

Joseph Gorga, assistant professor of biology, teaches “Environmental Science,” a required class for obtaining the degree. He said environmental science is a broad subject with many opportunities for students.

The degree helps students understand the function of the ecological system and human impact upon these systems at a local, regional and global scale.

“Many decisions professionals take and make have all kinds of impacts. We tend to minimize or not look deeply at what those impacts are,” engineering instructor Seyyed Khandani said. “It’s important to raise awareness of how those decisions create environmental and social side effects and impacts.”

He and Valdez have created new courses that will factor into the degree.

Instructors began teaching DVC’s first environmental science course, “Water Conservation,” in summer 2010.

“Water Conservation” is currently a contract class paid for by Swords to Plowshare, an East Bay non-profit providing employment, counseling and housing services for veterans, explained Valdez, who created the class. Next year, the class will be state funded and will be available in the fall 2011 catalog.

Valdez said the class has had many speakers from the East Bay Municipal Utility District and the Contra Costa Water District. The class also sets up a model of sprinkle devices for different landscapes.

“The students need to be more informed about the issues of water and energy in California,” Valdez said.

Khandani created another environmentally-focused class, “Energy, Society and the Environment,” which is offered this spring.

”During the past 23 years, this is the first class of its type which is multidisciplinary,” Khandani said. 

”Energy, Society and the Environment” is an interdisciplinary social science and approved as an Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum and DVC social and behavioral science requirement.

Khandani said he believes environmental education can influence and improve all types of decision making. “[The] BP oil spill didn’t have to happen if there were proper procedures to operate the rig and well,” he explained.

According to an August 2010 New York Times article, community colleges are offering more environmental education courses and degree programs for “a new generation of environmental smart manager” for the changing economy.  

Gorga said environmental education will lead to the technologies needed to mitigate current environmental issues worldwide.  

“Everything is interconnected,” Valdez said. “And it’s important we just start looking at it all.”


Contact Julius Rea at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Julius Rea
Julius Rea, Editor-in-chief
Editor-in-chief, spring and fall 2011. Graphics editor, fall 2010.

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DVC classes become a bit greener