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Geography, Geology and the Environment

Geography, Geology, and the Environment is a vibrant Department that houses major programs in Geography, Geology, Environmental Systems Science and Sustainability (ESSS), and Hydrogeology. We also have a long-standing history in training teachers through the Geography Teacher Social Science Education and Earth and Space Science Education Programs. 

Our students learn alongside award-winning faculty. Our programs offer hands-on and field training opportunities in and outside of the classroom. We boast a strong emphasis on offering individualized attention and ample opportunity for our students to participate in faculty-led research. Many geology and all geography and ESSS undergraduates complete an internship program before graduation. We place a strong emphasis on study abroad and offer our own Geology Field Camp program. We strive to achieve these goals while minimizing the financial burden on our students. Our accomplishments are many. In 2016 Geography received an honorable mention as an Undergraduate Program of Excellence by the Association of American Geographers, and in 2017 our Geology Field Camp Program garnered a national award for its excellence by the Geological Society of America and Exxon Mobil. In 2019 we launched a new interdisciplinary undergraduate science program in Environmental Systems, ESSS.

To continue rising to new heights of distinction we must rely on generous gifts from donors like you! Your support has the power to help ensure that the quality of our curricula continue to propel us upward as we educate tomorrow’s leaders, scientists, educators, and globally aware and socially engaged citizens. State your destination by joining us on this exciting journey and supporting our programs in one (or more) of these areas:

  • student travel to field sites and off-campus field excursions
  • study abroad programs
  • geology Field Camp program
  • faculty-led student undergraduate research
  • student professional conference travel
  • student scholarships

The list below provides a complete description of opportunities in the above areas, for each of our academic programs.

Geography Funds:

Geography Excellence Fund:  The Geography Excellence Fund supports the activities, programs, students and faculty in the Geography Program, GEOMAP, and the Illinois Geographic Alliance at Illinois State University. Gifts help enhance the quality of the Geography Program and ensure that its teaching and research facilities, scientific instrumentation, and laboratories, remain up to date.

Geology Funds:

Powell Fund: Illinois State University's first geologist was John Wesley Powell, the famous scientist-explorer who led the first expedition through the Grand Canyon and became the second director of the U.S. Geological Survey. The Powell Fund was established in 1980 and provides support for geology students, faculty, and programs, with emphasis on initiatives related to field experiences, student and faculty research and travel, and field camp.

Environmental Science Funds:

Geography, Geology and Environment Department Fund: The Geography, Geology, and the Environment department houses the Geography and Geology Programs. The Geography Program at Illinois State is one of two or three oldest in the country and was one of the first programs established on the Illinois State campus. The Geology program was established in 1969. The purpose of the Geography, Geology and Environment department fund is to support program development and operations.


Record-Breaker Challenge
This just in, Craig Reeser '75 wants to issue one final challenge. We will unlock a $250,000 planned commitment when we surpass 2,500 gifts before midnight tonight! Let’s do this 'Birds!
479 / 479 Gifts
Launch Challenge
Thank you to the first 500 donors who unlocked $25,000 to kick off Birds Give Back! Don’t forget to check with your employer to see if they match your gift!
500 / 500 Gifts
Momentum Challenge
Thank you to the 1000 donors who unlocked $25,000 to keep momentum strong during Birds Give Back!
1,000 / 1,000 Gifts
College of Arts and Sciences Challenge
An anonymous alumna wants us to show our support for the College of Arts and Sciences. She will unlock $25,000 for student scholarships when we receive 150 gifts to the College or its departments today during Birds Give Back.
150 / 150 Gifts
Participation by area
Which participating group will receive the most gifts during Birds Give Back? Support your passion and help your area climb the leaderboard!
Rank Area of Support Gifts
1 Multicultural Center 390
2 Athletics 355
3 LGBTQ+ Student Support 284
4 Communication 215
5 Redbird Esports 117
6 Accounting 79
7 Student Engagement 77
8 WGLT 73
9 Student Affairs Scholarships 72
10 Center for Civic Engagement 66
11 Support MCN priorities 60
12 Family and Consumer Sciences 59
13 Illinois Shakespeare Festival 59
14 School of Teaching and Learning 59
15 U-High 52
16 Student Scholarships 51
17 Alumni Association Scholarship 50
18 ISUPD Community Engagement Unit 50
19 College of Business Excellence Fund 47
20 Special Education 47
21 Ewing Cultural Center 44
22 School of Music 42
23 Black Colleagues Association Scholarship 39
24 Gamma Phi Circus 38
25 School of Theatre and Dance 38
26 Kinesiology and Recreation 35
27 CAST Student Persistence Fund 34
28 Vidette Digitization Project 34
29 Chemistry 32
30 Criminal Justice Sciences 30
31 Politics and Government 28
32 Finance, Insurance, and Law 28
33 Horticulture Center 27
34 Agriculture 25
35 Wonsook Kim CFA General Fund 25
36 Metcalf 24
37 Friends of the Arts 24
38 Educational Administration & Foundations 23
39 Technology 22
40 Information Technology 22
41 Marketing 21
42 Health Sciences 21
43 College of Arts and Sciences Funds 20
44 Biological Sciences 19
45 Wonsook Kim School of Art 18
46 Military Science - ROTC 18
47 International House 18
48 Pay it Forward Business Scholarship 17
49 History 17
50 More ways to support Milner Library 17
51 College of Education Persistence Awards 16
52 Creative Technologies Program 16
53 Mathematics 14
54 Sociology and Anthropology 13
55 CAST additional priorities 12
56 Communication Sciences and Disorders 12
57 Geography, Geology and the Environment 11
58 Latinx Alumni Network Scholarship 11
59 Physics 9
60 Social Work 9
61 Psychology 9
62 Management and Quantitative Methods 9
63 Languages, Literatures, and Cultures 8
64 English 8
65 The Graduate School 8
66 University Galleries 6
67 Economics 4
68 International Business 3
69 Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 2
70 Latin American and Latino/a Studies 1
71 Marian H. Dean Legacy Scholarship 0
72 Philosophy 0
Campus Community Challenge
Thanks to 250 faculty, staff, retiree donors for unlocking $10,000 during Birds Give Back!
250 / 250 Donors
Redbird Romance Challenge
Rod Sargeant '65, '67 wants to celebrate his Redbird romance and challenge us to reach our goal of 2,021 gifts to show Redbirds we’ve got their backs in 2021. He will unlock $25,000 to establish a scholarship in memory of his wife, Darlene Ann Sargeant '66 when we reach our goal today. Rod encourages you to make your gift in honor of, or in memory of, a Redbird you love.
521 / 521 Gifts
Football Alumni Challenge
Redbird football alumni Hank (’70, ’71) and Joan Guenther '69 will add $5,000 to support our strength and conditioning project when 5 other football alumni give $1,000 each to the effort today during Birds Give Back.
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