Group photo of students, faculty and staff in Borneo for EnviroLab Asia trip.

EnviroLab Asia, the 5C initiative that integrates Asian studies and environmental analysis, was recently awarded a $1.4 million grant to expand its support to Claremont students, faculty and staff working to deepen their understanding of environmental challenges in Asia and develop sustainable and socially just policy solutions.

The four-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) allows participants to study big environmental issues relating to water and air quality, deforestation and conservation efforts. This is carried out through integrated courses, research, visiting artists and activists, an annual research trip to Asia, and research projects from different disciplines and backgrounds.

This year, Marc Los Huertos, the Stephen M. Pauley M.D. ’62 Associate Professor of Environmental Analysis, is one of the co-principal investigators with Albert Park, associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna, and Branwen Williams, associate professor of environmental science in the Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps colleges.

Claremont faculty and a student test water in Indonesia.

Claremont faculty and students conduct water testing during last year's trip to Malaysia and Indonesia.

In the spring, Los Huertos and Park are co-teaching a pair of courses that will touch on issues of environmental analysis and culture and society. Students in the courses will gain new skills, like data collection, in preparation for an EnviroLab Asia trip to Thailand following the end of the course.

“These two are specifically embedded courses to prepare students to go abroad,” explains Los Huertos. “In May, we’re going to the upper part of the Mekong River located in Thailand so students can learn the complicated ecology of the river with competing goals along the transnational boundary.”

In addition to Thailand, the grant supports three additional trips to Asia the following years, to Japan, Korea and China. Last year, EnviroLab Asia took students, faculty and staff to Malaysia and Singapore.

The application for the co-taught courses to Thailand opens in the fall. More information is found on the EnviroLab Asia website