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Creation Care at the Heart of Wayland Baptist Alaskan Campuses

Photo: Steve Halama

With campuses across the West, Wayland Baptist University’s Alaska locations give traditional students entering college right out of high school as well as adult learners and military students convenient access to an education catered to their needs on the front step of the wilderness, where creation care is front and center.

Wayland Baptist is a private, Christian, non-profit university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. They are open to students who come from a wide array of faith traditions. As a liberal arts school, Wayland believes that students benefit from a broad base of knowledge paired with a deeper immersion in their chosen subject area. This education is enhanced when taught through a Christian worldview, which helps students understand their Creator and see themselves as part of God’s plan.

Wayland’s Alaska campuses make programs accessible through a variety of teaching sites, which offer most of their classes in the evenings and on weekends. In Anchorage, students can choose to learn from one of four teaching locations: the Anchorage Campus (Parkside Site), Elmendorf Air Force Base Site, Fort Richardson Army Post Site, and Wasilla Valley Center Teaching Site. Wayland courses are offered at three different sites in Fairbanks: Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Wainwright, and the North Pole – Ben Franklin Mall

At Wayland, Creation Care Is a Core Value

Two of Wayland’s core values include Stewardship of Our Resources and Environmental Responsibility, placing Creation Care at the heart of the University. According to the school’s website, “Wayland’s primary focus in sustainability efforts on campus is an emphasis on Creation Care and instilling a sense of environmental responsibility among the Wayland family as a part of our calling to be good stewards of God’s creation. We feel that caring for the environment also means caring for people – we have an interest in clean air, clean water, and responsible allocation of natural resources for all peoples.”

Wayland understands that all people can come to a deeper understanding of and appreciation for God through both his word and his works. The University provides biblical support for the concept of creation care and urges Christians to consider that, “If we are careless in our stewardship of God’s creation, we not only destroy that which He has made for His glory, but we also deny others the opportunity to see with wonder and awe God’s creation.”

Environmental Studies at Wayland Baptist

Students can pursue a broad variety of programs and majors for both undergraduate and graduate level degrees at the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses. For students who want to carry their focus of creation care into their area of study, both locations offer a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies.

Wayland Baptist’s Environmental Studies BAS degree is unique in its emphasis on the importance of a faith-based creation care ethic to achieve sustainable use of natural resources in both the public or private sector. Students enrolled in this general program have the opportunity to customize their degree by focusing on topics that interest them, from conservation to environmental pollution, to food production and the use of natural resources.

Field-Based Study Abroad Opportunities

Regardless of your course of study, students at all of the Wayland locations can participate in Christian environmental stewardship field-based courses and research opportunities offered through the Academic Council for the Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies. Students can earn credit toward their degree at Wayward when they take classes through this organization (either at the Pacific Rim Campus in Washington or through India and Costa Rica study abroad opportunities in tropical ecology or agricultural missions).

Campus-Wide Creation Care Initiatives

Even if environmental studies is not a student’s chosen field of study, the campus community is collectively committed to challenging all students to think about creation care. 

“We encourage students to consider a creation care topic for their initial BASC 1201 course that has an experiential modular component in the course,” says Dr. Eric Ash, executive director and campus dean for the Wayland-Anchorage campus. 

At the Wayland-Anchorage campus each spring, Wayland faculty, staff, and students participate in community cleanup efforts sponsored by the Anchorage and Wasilla Chambers of Commerce. The school also sponsors the cleanliness of a section of highway that runs from the campus a few miles to the north, and volunteers help clean the roadways near Wayland in the Mat-Su Valley. During Spiritual Emphasis weeks, creation care is occasionally the topic of devotions and prayer.

Students who are looking for a private, Christian college education with an emphasis on creation care situated in Alaska can find a strong option in Wayland Baptist.

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