While Yale undergraduates are preparing for an upcoming intercollegiate rivalry, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies is collaborating for the first time with top environmental schools across the country to recruit students into environmental career fields.

On Thursday, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies joined with their counterparts at Duke University, the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Barbara at an informational session for prospective students in Chicago. The open house will be followed by another joint conference in San Francisco next week. The goal of the new inter-institutional program is to promote environmental career choices available through the environmental schools and to increase the number of applicants that the schools see each year, said Emly McDiarmid, director of admissions for Yale’s environment school.

“Many don’t know that as biologists, physicists and economists they could choose an environmental career, that applying their discipline to environmental concerns is a rewarding career path,” she said.

These two programs are among 33 other informational events being held by Yale’s Environmental School this year.

McDiarmid said the environment school is trying this collaboration out this year to see if it works to increase the number of applicants throughout the school’s different programs.

This collaboration across institutional borders is unusual for professional schools, most of which have independent councils to oversee application processes. Law schools belong to the Law School Admission Council, business schools have the Graduate Management Admission Council and medical schools rely on the Association of American Medical Colleges.

However, there is no such national network for environmental schools. This is the first time there has been a joint recruiting event for all four schools,” said Lisa Yee-Litzenberg, a career counselor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment.

Representatives from different environment schools said they hope the participating schools will benefit by promoting careers in the field of environmental studies as viable options, even for people who are already in the professional world.

The Yale environment school encourages students who have professional experience to consider an environmental career because they can often approach the work with a more focused and mature attitude, McDiarmid said.

“It sends a positive message that environmental schools are concerned about environmental education opportunities and environmental careers,” said Cynthia Peters, assistant dean for enrollment services at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

Although the schools are presenting their options together to prospective students, they believe they can each attract a diverse group of student with their different programs. Yale’s school alone has over nine different tracks, such as Environmental Policy and Law; Ecology, Ecosystems and Biodiveristy; and Global Change Science and Policy.

“Each school has its own niche, so this is an opportunity for prospective students to see which program might be the best for them,” Yee-Litzenberg said.

Peters also said the new partnership is not a competition, and each school will reap rewards in the long run.

“There are ways that we can collaborate and cooperate without hindering the education missions of any of the schools involved,” she said.