Sustainability Semester Blog

A St. Lawrence University academic department blog

St. Lawrence University's Sustainability Semester is an off-campus living-learning program located 5 miles from the SLU campus where students create community together with the goals of living sustainably in a renovated farm house, growing and preserving their own food and building both theoretical and practical knowledge pertaining to sustainability. The students take four classes together on site, all focused on aspects of sustainability and travel to Boston for a 2 week urban sustainability component. They cook and share meals together, bake bread, do farm and house chores, engage in projects including wood working, maple sugaring, soap making, and other crafts, and work with community members involved in homesteading, farming, green building and more. This blog is written by the students participating in the Sustainability Semester and gives a snap shot of their reflections and experiences.


By: Emma Phillips and Kim Haab Buildings, including homes, are major users of electricity and energy in the United States. Buildings in the U.S. consume 74% of all electricity and 40% of all energy produced (Sustainability Principles and Practices, Margaret Robertson, pg. 183). There are always... read full story
By Will McMaster and Sam Haab “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide.... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait... read full story
By Sean Reville & Anna Hughes The clanging sound of the dinner bell echoes throughout the house. It is a rude awakening from blissful dreams, but the aroma of hot coffee helps ease in the transition from sleep to consciousness. Downstairs there are scrambled eggs, oatmeal and assorted cereals... read full story
By: Emma Phillips and Will McMaster This past Friday, a local cheesemaker named Josh Carter traveled up to the Sustainability House to show us the process behind making cheese. Is spending an entire Friday morning making cheese time well spent? You cheddar believe it! It’s truly a grate experience... read full story
By Anna Hughes and Sam Haab Food storage is an aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked by the general public. However, here at the Sustainability Semester where local organic food is a key value, food storage is actually one of the most important parts of sustainable living. People often... read full story
By Sean Reville and Kim Haab “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: Love. They must do it for love. Farmers farm for the love of farming.”~Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings... read full story
By Lanika Sanders As I unclipped my helmet and rolled my bike up to Sweetcore Farm’s little barn, I had no idea what to expect. Not only had I never worked on a small-scale, family-owned farm before, I had never worked on a farm, period. Luckily, David and Kathy Rice, Sweetcore's owners, were just... read full story
Myles TrainerNature is Clean. Or is it? It is five minutes until 11 o’clock; the sun has nearly reached its climax squeezing all of the existent moisture from the concrete. Clients won’t arrive at Casa b for another 3 hours. Palms sweaty, I believe I have enough time. My bag is exploding with... read full story
Ben Swimm, Homesteader-in-Residence If you have passed by our farm in the past few weeks, you may have noticed a new addition to the landscape. I notice it from the top of the hill that overlooks the farm from Route 68, and it is just as easily spotted from the end of the driveway. Maybe it’s just... read full story
Caeleigh WarburtonSustainability Semester Internship BlogSeptember 1, 2014 What I have come to value most about my education at St. Lawrence is the diversity of perspectives that I have had the fortune to experience.  As a student with a strong focus on environmental themes, I have had the... read full story
By: Jamie Oriol As the Sustainability Semester came to an end and students parted, all heading off to their exciting summer internships, I found myself settling in for a summer in the North Country.  Staying at the Sustainability House, I prepared myself for a summer of both research,... read full story
Someone once told me, speaking about Boston, that “A city is just an artificial dwelling system for the animal called Homo Sapiens.” This summer, I worked at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in Boston. I lived in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood just outside of Boston. And I saw much more than an... read full story