Sustainable Water Minor applies interdisciplinary studies to water issues

Erin Douglas

The Sustainable Water Interdisciplinary Minor (SWIM) was recently added to Colorado State University in order to accommodate students of interdisciplinary majors. The SWIM program is a partnership between the CSU Water Center and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES).



“The SWIM will help students from a variety of disciplines as they prepare themselves to work in water-related fields, or incorporate their water knowledge into their profession,” said Julie Kallenberger, SWIM advisor. “Graduates who come from an array of educational backgrounds and skill sets will be important as we continue to address our water issues.”

During the past year, the former Water Resources Interdisciplinary Studies Program was updated to SWIM, according to Kallenberger.

“Since water issues are not guided by any one discipline, but rather knowledge from many disciplines, students from all backgrounds and studies can pursue a career in water resources,” Kallenberger said.

Water would not be available year round in Colorado if humans did not manage it, according to Kallenberger.

“Newer uses of water are competing with more established uses, such as municipal and agricultural, in ways never seen before,” Kallenberger said.

CSU has over 200 faculty and staff who apply their disciplines to water, according to the SWIM website.

“Achieving sustainability in water resources is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century,” said Reagan Waskom, chair of the CSU Water Center and director of the Colorado Water Institute.

CSU offers more than 150 water-oriented courses each year. The SWIM requires courses in three major categories: a required core, foundations of water and context of water. The full minor checklist is available on the SWIM website.

“We are grappling with population growth, potential impacts of climate change, urbanization and loss of habitat,” said Waskom. “Water touches everything and everyone, therefore all sectors have an interest in water.”

Collegian Sustainability Beat Reporter Erin Douglas can be reached at