Our Learning Community provides opportunities to explore and build the skills and qualities needed to create a regenerative present and future at the personal, social, and ecological levels. It's a place where we explore ourselves, our communities, and larger human and natural systems. We honor our relationships with our local communities and natural environment by getting out and exploring the woods, Lake Champlain, local food systems, campus organizations, fall foliage, and discovering peaceful places to slow down. We seek to deepen and celebrate our sense of place, fostering an atmosphere where everyone find points of connection to their community—the built environments that we inhabit, and the natural landscape that frame our lives.
Through our explorations and focus on community-building, we seek to challenge and expand commonly held understandings of sustainability while embracing both the complexity of the concept as well as its inherent simplicity. In our classes and activities, we seek to provide a space where students can grow their understanding of sustainability while intentionally deciding how they want to live, learn, and work in the world.
LEARN WHERE YOU LIVE
- For new first-time, first-year students, our one-credit course Ecology of Place is an exploration of self, community, and larger human and natural systems. We begin within our home community located in Harris Hall and branch out across campus and into our larger community and landscapes. Within class and during community celebrations, students explore and practice three central themes of sustainability:
- Mountains, Rivers, and Lakes: Outdoor Exploration
- Harvest, Cook, Eat: Food Systems
- Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: Matter and Energy
- Second-year Sustainability students will have the opportunity to apply to live in a themed village. Villages are student-designed, student-led community groups that live in proximity to one another throughout the year.
SUSTANABILITY FOCUS 2020-2021
Do you have a particular interest or theme that you would like to explore with your peers? A passion for hiking, an interest in exploring a zero-waste lifestyle, eating locally, or bird watching? If so, you can choose from among five themed villages and live in a block of suites in University Heights South to explore your interest or passion with peers who share that interest. Members of each village (of up to 12 students) will be able to plan events that explore your theme—such as workshops, speakers, and/or small outings. If you are interested in sharing your passion/interest with the wider community, you can apply for a grant to put on a community-wide event or workshop. Villages can be a great way to build micro-communities centered around common interests within the larger Sustainability Community.
- Mountains, Rivers, Lakes: Outdoor Exploration
- Harvest, Cook, Eat: Food Systems
- Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: Matter & Energy (Enoughness)
- Identity, Solidarity, Equity: Social Justice
- Journey Within: Mindfulness
Undergraduate Course Facilitator (UCF): Work closely with the Sustainability faculty and staff to instruct the first-year course NR15 Ecology of Place. Application opens in March.
Learning Community Leader (LCL): Serve as a primary role model for other students in the LC and work closely with Sustainability staff to create a successful educational experience and learning environment. Applications accepted in January of each year.
Resident Advisor (RA): Work closely with the Sustainability team as a primary resource for students to build a sense of home and support community connections and involvement. Students interested in this position should be on the lookout for RA Info Sessions in November.
Hall Council Member: A great way to have a voice and action in our Sustainability community. More information about Hall Council will be available at the beginning of the fall semester.
- Harvest Celebration is a fun-filled day where students are bussed off-site to nearby Richmond to explore the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps farm. We spend the day building community together through arts, games, dancing and sharing a meal. Students also have the chance to get their hands dirty and help the VYCC with harvesting some of their crops.
- Giving Thanks Community Celebration is held the week before Thanksgiving break. Students share a seasonally inspired meal together in the dining hall and have the opportunity to engage in activities ranging from natural crafts to learning more about local ecology and food. A highlight of the semester, this event allows students to build community and relax with one another before they leave for break.
- Local Exploration and Adventures. Throughout the semester students have the opportunity to take part in guided and self-guided explorations of the local community, including both natural areas and the urban infrastructure. (Examples include exploring Centennial Woods, learning to use the bus system to get to natural areas, farmer’s market, donating used items, and buying second-hand items from areas businesses). Guided walks through campus and nearby Centennial Woods are offered throughout the semester, as are multiple opportunities to explore the local community alone or with peers.
Locations: Harris and University Heights South
Please check your housing contract for more specific location information.