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 Jamie Oriol and Lanika Sanders On Monday, the countdown began. With packing lists in hand and visions of green rooftops filling our minds, the final preparation for our trip to Boston has commenced! As eager as we are to hit the road, however, the past week’s bustle has demanded our attention.... read full story
By Sean Morrissey and Lizzy Gendell Today we decided that this week’s blog would look a little different. Instead of updating you on the good ole shenanigans we are getting in to over at the house (which is the usual array of new and unique experiences –planting seedlings, writing forestry plans,... read full story
Sean David This past weekend our Sustainability Semester travelled a few hours south to Eco Village Ithaca (EVI). EVI is an intentional community of around 160 people that promote community with the environment in mind. We arrived on Friday afternoon and began with a tour of the community by one of... read full story
Margaret MacDonaldCaeleigh Warburton April 8, 2014 With April upon us, the weather remains disjointed - indecisive. Scheduled outdoor activities like timber framing our greenhouse, planting seeds, or trekking to the river come with guarantees neither of warmth nor comfort. However, schedules and... read full story
Elizabeth Gendell & Kaitlyn Lawrence Finding a sense of place may be more challenging when the ground is packed with snow and the signs of spring are unrecognizable.  All of us awoke Sunday morning in hopes that we might see more dirt and grass due to the rain and warmer temperatures, but... read full story
What do tofu and trees have in common? Each offer innovative solutions to slow down climate change, and—despite Canton’s everlasting frigid temperatures—this past week brought us the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge in both these areas. The seasons seem to tease us, ruthlessly maintaining... read full story
Margaret MacDonald & Myles Trainer The tail end of January, February, and much of March saw an onslaught of wintry weather. The harsh cold, ice, and wind necessitated a hunkering down both of mind and body. At the Sustainability House, it was at this time that we took up the task of building... read full story
David SmithCaeleigh Warburton March 7, 2014 While practical knowledge and critical discussion are important components of the Sustainability Semester, the nine of us have acknowledged a need for the group to push and develop our actual practice of this information further.  Activism is often... read full story
Lanika & Sean You know the song “It’s Not Easy Being Green” by Kermit the Frog? Kermit, it turns out, was very wrong. One of the coolest perks about being students on the Sustainability Semester is our access to field excursions. Really, that’s just a fancy way of saying we have a ton of field... read full story
Myles Trainer & Jamie Oriol A tree comes from the ground; lasagna comes from the oven, but is it really that simple? Today, as a nation, we often forget about the intricate ingredients or biological factors that contribute to simple aspects of our everyday lives such as cooking and eating... read full story
Kaitlyn Lawrence & Margaret MacDonaldFebruary 14, 2014 According to Aldo Leopold, the land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of... read full story
Lizzy Gendell Caeleigh Warburton February 4, 2014 There isn’t much that catches the eye while driving down highway 68, but the long and hilly roads carry much more than a few old houses and some vacant barns.  Amidst the sprawling forests, fields, and streams sits a modest renovated... read full story