Academic Meets Practical: Corey Robinson '17

Author: Rachel Novick

Corey Robinson

Corey Robinson enjoys contrasts in his academic pursuits, and none more than the juxtaposition of pairing his Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) major with the Sustainability Minor.

“It’s a nice mixture of academic questions and practical, real world concerns,” he said. “Sustainability is an issue that is affecting the world now and must be addressed with urgency, whereas PLS focuses on works that transcend time and problems that humanity will always face.”

Corey, who also minored in business economics and served as Student Body President his final year, interned with the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) in summer 2015, compiling data on climate change effects and drafting a report on Brazil’s vulnerability to improper agricultural land use. While there, he also conducted research for a senior thesis / sustainability capstone on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

“ND-GAIN helped me see that the root causes of deforestation lie in the economics of the agricultural sector,” he said. “And John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism was a perfect way to incorporate my PLS education into the project. Utilitarianism directly deals with economics and strives to find a solution that benefits the community at large, not a select group of private individuals.”

Robinson is considering a variety of graduate programs down the road. For now, he said the variety of perspectives he’s learned in sustainability and PLS will benefit him in nearly any situation.

“PLS has taught me to entertain an idea without subscribing to it and that each side of an argument has validity and a story. It just takes time to understand where they’re coming from,” he said.

“And sustainability has taught me that to accomplish change, there must be a collaborative effort and a common belief. In the same way, if we want to accomplish our initiatives and make a change for students, we must work together as a campus toward a common goal.”

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