Education - Community

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Adirondack Semester

The Goal: To provide students with the foundation to understand and embrace environmental sustainability so that they personally and professionally may meet the needs of their own families, communities and career responsibilities without compromising the ability of the environment to provide for future generations. 1

The Problem:

All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-operate...the land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.

-Aldo Leopold. The Land Ethic

This statement by Aldo Leopold calls attention to the idea that we are members of an ecological community. As such, our existence and success depend on living in ways that recognize responsibilities to the rest of this ecological community. Education at St. Lawrence must acquaint students with this dependency on the ecological community and the responsibilities it entails.

Opportunities for St. Lawrence University:

As members of the St. Lawrence community and the surrounding environment, students should graduate with a certain level of ecological literacy and a sense of the environmental community.

Appendix - Education - Community

1 from the SLU Environmental Resolution

Model Programs:

Dickinson College: Dickinson College has incorporated education, information, and exposure to renewable energy sources into the college’s new student orientation .

Oberlin: Here is a link to an article about a monitoring system set up at Oberlin college that displays energy and water use in dorms.

SLU Success Stories:

The Environmental Studies program at SLU is one of the oldest programs in the nation (created in 1974). It provides a wide range of opportunities for student research in the region. Students also have the option to combine environmental studies with ten other majors. This field of study offered at SLU provides students with a broad understanding of the environmental issues that we face today. The Environmental Studies ESL (Ecological Sustainability Landscape) is a beautiful 110-acre tract of land including fields, forests, wetlands, and steams complete with a three-story house and outbuildings. Certainly the largest laboratory at St. Lawrence University, the land is used for a variety of class projects especially sustainable agriculture and agroecology. Students have the opportunity to apply textbook concepts to hands-on projects including growing organic crops and experimenting with natural pest controls including integrated pest management. An ongoing acid rain sampling program is monitored by environmental studies students.

Following the model of study abroad in another culture, the Adirondack Semester offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves full-time in the natural world. Participating students have the chance to reflect critically upon their conceptions of nature, modern culture, and the most desirable relation between them.