A Balanced Life

“Sustainability is balance,” says Zelie Wright-Neil ’15. “Everyone can do something. Only by starting with small steps can we move toward change.”

Zelie practiced those beliefs on the Sustainability Semester, which she took during her sophomore spring at St. Lawrence. She says, “We learned how to turn a patch of dirt and a seed into a meal. We realized it’s cheaper and way more rewarding than anything else.”

A focus of the Semester is to engage students in the practice of sustainability through academics and practical experience. Zelie comments that the experience helped foster a “feeling that what we were doing was important. We’d wake up every morning knowing exactly why we needed to go to class, why we were learning what we were learning.” They put what they learned into operation: carpool, can and freeze homegrown vegetables, and eat local meat. At the end of the semester, they undertook an urban component in Boston, exploring sustainability topics and methods in a city.

Zelie, an anthropology major from Leicester, Vt., says “I’ve encouraged my family to grow almost all of their own food,” adding that her family gave up DirectTV to raise meat chickens. Though these changes involve sacrifice, “if people cut out a few unnecessary things, they can find the time to make simple, sustainable choices,” she says. “It’s all about realizing that you want to.”

--Tori Bean ’14