Climate change is the ultimate interdisciplinary issue; no single discipline can study it. The climate crisis involves everything from agriculture to arts, inequality to international policy, renewables to refugees to racism, politics to philosophy, medical clinics to battery chemistry, meteorology and mineral sciences to mass mobilization.
This makes climate a difficult subject for many faculty to take on alone. Our goal is to turn the inherently interdisciplinary character of climate change from an obstacle into an opportunity.
Who can participate?
Penn State Faculty, students, and staff from every campus are welcome to participate in Climate Crossover Week (April 13-22, 2020) and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Faculty: Add your class
The initiative is open to all levels of faculty interest, ability, time, and knowledge about climate change.
Faculty with little prep time or resources can invite a guest speaker, or allocate a class period to a student discussion structured by a set of questions that we recommend or help you adapt to your course.
Faculty who want assignments in which students connect their course subject to climate can get guidance from us, from other faculty, or the Sustainability Institute’s Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability.
Many faculty will want climate issues to be more tightly integrated into their course content, whether in a single class session, through a module, or over the course of a unit: we are happy to help in this process, either by suggesting topics, or specific articles, or by connecting faculty to one another. For example, a course on the history of race issues includes a unit on the history of extractive industries and the inequality of climate impacts.
A number of faculty are planning projects that connect their students with students in other disciplines, for example, art students helping to make interactive visualizations of data that students in science classes are working with, or bioethics classes working with law students.
Some of these projects can spill over into the public side of the Climate Crossover Week, and we will be actively facilitating these. For example, groups of students can host public discussions, art installations, public lightning talks, and public panel sessions about their research projects. These are excellent opportunities for students to consolidate their understanding of their subject matter and make their knowledge more versatile by connecting with other disciplines and the public.
Ready to add your class?
Students: Ask your teachers to participate
Share this page with your faculty and encourage them to add their class to our growing list of participants. Student voices are a powerful tool for shaping curricula and conversations about climate change. If nothing else, talking to your professors will let them know you care about climate action.
Want to anonymously suggest that your professor add your class to Climate Crossover? Use our handy web form to send them a prepared email:
How is this funded?
Awaken State consists of volunteers. We have two small grants to support interdisciplinary art projects and student interns working on Crossover Week. If you would like to apply for funding, or to join our team, contact