Luke Hurley, ESS major, exemplifies a great student leader in CSUS during his studies

Luke Hurley, ESS major makes the most of his time here in CSUS- double majoring, internship experience, and co-founding the ESSU student organization. As a strong student leader, Luke helps make a welcoming community for all CSUS students.

Name: Luke Hurley

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada and Ann Arbor, Michigan

Majors: Environmental Studies and Sustainability & Geographic Information Science

Minor: Social Science Quantitative Data Analytics

Expected graduation date: Spring 2024

Why did you choose Environmental Studies and Sustainability?

The Environmental Studies and Sustainability major appealed to me because I wanted to better understand how I can use the sustainability values I hold to engage with people to further the impact on the communities I live and work in.

Who or what inspired your interest in sustainability?

When I was in high school, I took Environmental Systems and Societies, an International Baccalaureate (IB) science course. This class opened my eyes to the world of sustainability science and was one of the main reason that I chose to pursue my ESS degree at MSU.

What has been one of your best experiences within your major so far?

While working alongside my closest friends, we founded a student organization focused on supporting students in the ESS Major. The goals of this organization, Environmental Studies and Sustainability United (ESSU), are to increase engagement in the program, empower students to think critically about their education and how they can have an impact in the world, and fostering a safe and inclusive environment. Together me and three other ESS students worked together to pull on our shared knowledge from our studies to craft an organization that would expand upon students’ classroom learning. The club also fulfills a big need within the ESS program; to bring students together to support student success. To accomplish this, we drew on curriculum from several classes including Non-profit Organization and Management, Community-Based Environmental and Sustainability Education, Grant Writing and Fund Development, and Program evaluation for Community Sustainability. ESSU has been wildly successful, we have over 50 club members and over 100 students on our email list. The club has hosted several guest speakers at our bi-weekly meetings from Nonprofit, Government, and public sectors. We have participated in and hosted several volunteer events. Additionally, ESSU hosts social events, study groups, and participates in other campus outreach events to further ensure student success.

What do you want others to know about this major?

This program has some of the most amazing and passionate professors and faculty I have had the chance to work with. All of them are very interested in supporting students and engaging in ways to further student success.

Any thoughts or advice for current students?

Reach out and get connected to things that interest you. MSU is a huge place but it’s all about finding your passion and your niche. I highly recommend being open to exploring new topics- that was one of the most impactful things for me. If I hadn't been open to learning new things, I would never have discovered my passion for geographic information science and data communication.

What are your future plans?

I aspire to work for the State Government at the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy.

What’s your favorite thing about MSU?

One of my favorite things about MSU is the campus! Having the Red Cedar River running right through the center of campus and almost always being surrounded by so many trees makes campus feel like a retreat for me.


Luke also completed an internship during his program. Below, Luke shares a bit about his work during his internship and reflects on the impact of this experience.

Where and with what organization was your internship?

My internship is virtual at The Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)

Can you briefly explain what you did during your internship? 

At EGLE I work as a student assistant in the water infrastructure funding and financing section. Most of my work involves data communication for the public. I work to identify where our grants and loans are going and what work is being done to ensure that we can clearly communicate the work we are doing.

What is the most valuable part of the internship experience?

This internship gave me critical experience that I could not be taught in the classroom. I started to better understand the different ways that state and local government can contribute to sustainability practices and environmental protection. I was also introduced to the world of Geographic Information Science, something that inspired me to pursue a dual degree in ESS and GIS.

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