At a Glance

Year: ’25
Major: Environmental Science with Sustainability Option
Activities: Honors College, Student Society for Sustainability, Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy, spin instructor

Environmental Science BA

As an environmental science major, you'll build a strong foundation in environmental and sustainability science and gain the policy know-how necessary to translate science into action.

William Lefebvre’s interest in environmental science shifted when he got to college.
After taking an advanced placement environmental science class in high school, Lefebvre decided to major in environmental science with the intention of pursuing a career that would allow him to work in a lab or conduct fieldwork. But when he joined the Department of Environmental, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at UMass Lowell, he became fascinated with sustainability.
“UMass Lowell opened my eyes up to sustainability, and not just the science aspect of it, but the multidisciplinary approach to it,” says Lefebvre, who went on to become the media coordinator for the Student Society for Sustainability and an eco rep for the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy.
When a new Environmental Science major focusing on sustainability opened during Lefebvre’s sophomore year, he switched his degree pathway from a bachelor of science in environmental science to a bachelor of arts. Through this new major, Lefebvre took sustainability courses within several departments across campus, including English and Political Science
“It shows how broad the topic of sustainability really is,” the Leominster, Massachusetts, native says.
While taking the Sociology course Climate Crisis and Society, Lefebvre found his calling within sustainability – the built environment, which according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency is the “man-made or modified structures that provide people with living, working and recreational spaces.” Lefebvre, who is in the Honors College, went on to conduct his honors thesis on UMass Lowell’s built environment with fellow environmental science major Aya Oulal. He also added a minor in architectural studies.
“The minor gives me a solid foundation to show future employers that I have the capability to help with green design and planning,” he says.
Lefebvre took his sustainability passion overseas when he attended COP28, the annual United Nations climate summit, in Dubai in December 2023. The trip, funded by the Rist Institute, expanded Lefebvre’s climate change knowledge on a global scale.
“I felt honored to represent the university at such a high level,” he says.
Lefebvre used a $4,000 Immersive Scholars award to take part in an honors study abroad trip to Chile in January 2023. 
“It took out that financial hurdle, which sounds simple, but as a student, it’s a really big deal,” he says.
Back on campus, Lefebvre is a part of several sustainability initiatives, such as litter cleanups, asset management and a semi-annual Thrift Day, which he brought to UMass Lowell after learning about a similar initiative at Boston University during an on-campus Student Sustainability Leaders Symposium. In his free time, he enjoys teaching spin at the Campus Recreation Center.
“I tried spin out my freshman year and decided I wanted to teach it. It’s so fun and such a stress relief,” says Lefebvre, who collaborates with the Office of Multicultural Affairs every semester to host a Pride Ride with drag queens.
Lefebvre came to UMass Lowell in part because its tuition was “tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than the other universities I applied to.” He says he’s grateful he made that choice.
“UMass Lowell has given me so many opportunities that I never would have thought would come from a state school,” he says. “I have family that went to other prestigious colleges, and none of them have had the opportunities that I’ve had here, and they’re still paying off debt. The value that I feel I get at this university is immense.”

Why UML?

William Lefebvre.
“The value that I feel I get at this university is immense.”