Two top-tier industry publications recently recognized St. Lawrence University’s efforts to make sustainability an integral practice in all aspects of campus life—from the residence halls to academic programs, transportation, and dining options.
The Sustainability Program gives the next generation of thinkers and leaders the tools to tackle the globally important challenges of sustainability. There is an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and diversity of thought within our definitions and analyses of sustainability.
Let us take a moment to remember we are part of a colonial settler culture that lives on land inhabited by the Kanien’keha:ka tribe of the Haudenosaunne people. These people were forced off the land with violence, broken treaties, and forced cultural assimilation.
Let us remember our wealth was created with the labor of enslaved people.
Let us recognize this trauma. Let us recognize the systemic oppression that continues to marginalize people today. As members of the colonial-settler community, we need to dismantle these systems of oppression and move forward in peace.
Sustainability Program Information
We are an immersive experiential program focused around sustainability. Experiential education takes the notion that learning through experience can supplement and strengthen more traditional in class learning methods. Immersive means that the learning continues beyond class time; you are immersed in the experience. So in context of the sustainability program, students learn about global systematic issues surrounding sustainability in the classroom, but then they continue to explore these issues through direct experience in their lives in the house and on the farm. Within this program, there is an emphasis on collective decision-making and valuation of diverse perspectives when it comes to solutions of issues within sustainability. Students think globally and act locally. We have multiple experiences available to get involved.
The program is designed to guide students in developing five competencies necessary to solving society's most pressing sustainability issues. These competencies include:
- Systems Thinking: Understanding the complex relationships among and between social, political, and environmental systems involved in sustainability questions.
- Anticipatory Analysis: Thinking into the future to predict future consequences of actions and policies.
- Normative Thinking: Recognizing how social beliefs and values impact how we frame issues, develop strategies for solutions, and evaluate decisions about future actions.
- Strategic Application: Identifying various strategies for solving recognized problems.
- Interpersonal Skills: Working within communities and with others to develop and implement solutions to problems.
In developing the above competencies, students meet the following learning goals:
- Learn to seek and implement interdisciplinary solutions to sustainability problems.
- Comprehend the local and global intersections of sustainability issues.
- Identify the complexities of relationships involved with sustainability issues.
- Develop strategies to communicate environmental knowledge to different audiences.
- Gain leadership skills in community engagement and environmental activism.
Sustainability Program (Fall 2022 thru Spring 2023)
Early Application and Acceptance for HEOP, BIPOC, International and Sustainability Students:
Application Due Nov 29
Acceptance Decisions by Dec 2021
Campus-wide applications due March 15th
The flagship year-long program. Selected students live together at the sustainability site during the academic year exploring sustainability issues in class and in the house. Students take the two sustainability program core classes, Solving Sustainability in the fall and Sustainable Communication in the spring. They also take a half-credit farm practicum each semester. The remainder of the credits are fulfilled on campus or through independent research.
Summer Restorative Agriculture Required Internship Experience (Summer 2022)
Application due November 12th (Late applications may be considered)
This is the required 100 hour farm practicum associated with the Spring Restorative Agriculture course. The practicum involves the day-to-day work and skill building of an organic farm (i.e. operations, livestock care, planting, cover cropping, weeding, harvesting, preserving) to prepare students for a multitude of careers. Students make connections and explore the local food system, including weekly time spent on a local farm. The course is ideal for students interested in sustainability, environmental science, climate science, biology, ecology, agriculture, soil science, animal science, plant research and horticulture, natural resource management, business and economics, community resilience, advocacy, environmental justice, public health, and policy. With the practicum, students learn by using a systems-based approach. Practicum dates to be arranged with the Program Director between May and Aug.
Paid Land Steward Summer Internship (Summer 2022)
Application due Feb 15th
The advanced sustainability program paid summer internship. Paid internships are available for qualified students during the summer. Some are available for the whole summer (May-August) and some will be made available for students who complete the summer required restorative agriculture internship and run for the remainder of the summer after the course is completed (July-August)
Are you a student and want to work with the sustainability program? We are constantly in need of help. To apply email email@example.com with a resume and cover letter.
We need students to help manage the farm including harvesting, livestock, weeding, and general work. We need students spring, summer, and fall.
Fall Interns: 3-12 hour per week during the fall semester. Flexible schedule most hours needed Aug-Nov
Spring Interns: 3-6 hours per week starting with maple season March-May
Summer Interns: 10 weeks during the summer
Summer 2 week harvest interns: 2 weeks in August (during summer recess)
Early Fall Intern: Interns stay on farm a week and half before school starts
Sustainability Program Mentor
A mentor is a member of a previous cohort that will live in the sustainability house and contribute to the program’s immersive living and learning environment. The mentor will share the wisdom they have gained through their experiences at the program, as well as their personal skills to foster the next cohort through their program experience. The mentor role is a paid hourly position using standard SLU wages with an expectations of 10 hours per week depending on season and situation. In addition to the formal paid time, there is an expectation of serving as a resource to students in house by helping or engaging with them in non-paid, casual ways. There can be more than one mentor with the responsibilities divided among them, and the number of work hours adjusted. In addition to the formal application, you should make your interest in the position known to the program director and faculty coordinator.
Course Teaching Assistants
- A variety of Sustainability Program courses use teaching assistants
Sustainability Program In-residence Community & Food Coordinator
Master of Arts in Leadership Graduate Program
St. Lawrence University seeks a graduate student to join the University’s Sustainability Program<https://www.stlawu.edu/sustainability-program> as an In-Residence Community & Food Coordinator in the Masters of Arts in Leadership Program<https://www.stlawu.edu/graduate-programs>. The individual will assist in development of a strong living/learning community and leadership skills among students, supporting curriculum through experiential learning, and the development of relationships with broader community partners.
This is a new position and planned for 10 working months with ability to live in residence for 12 months. 25 hours paid weekly. Remuneration includes on-site tiny house living, student health insurance, and eligibility for full tuition remission.
Funded, Stipend & Housing!
In addition to having a strong interdisciplinary interest in sustainability, preferred candidates will demonstrate:
• Ability to foster diversity & inclusivity
• Teaching and/or experience working with students
• Experience in residential environments
• Ability to work both independently and collaboratively
• Strong communication, organizational, professionalism, and leadership skills
• Ability to be an active member of a residential community aspiring to live sustainability
The Sustainability Program is located at 1894 State Highway 68 in Canton five miles away from St. Lawrence University campus on land owned by Cornell Cooperative Extension. St. Lawrence University has entered into a long-term lease and partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension which includes the use of its traditional farm house for student residence, a small office building/classroom space, and a Quonset hut as well as approximately 33.5 acres for gardens, orchards, livestock, season extension structures and future additional residence space. St. Lawrence University’s partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension also allows students to benefit from the CCE farm just down the road from the Sustainability Site, CCE’s high tunnel season extension structure (which volunteer SLU students helped to construct), CCE’s livestock herds and the knowledge and expertise of the CCE staff and educators.
Converting the buildings and grounds into energy efficient, non-fossil fuel- reliant structures and gardens capable of feeding the residents, will be on-going projects planned and carried out by and with SLU students and community members as part of the experience of the Sustainability Program and residence at the site. We currently have the following structures and resources available:
- Residential farmhouse with kitchen, large dining room table and living room, multiple bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with 2 showers.
- 1 ½ acres established garden, managed using organic practices
- Young orchard
- Maple sugar bush
- Timber frame greenhouse
- Classroom with space for ~15-20 students (with table, chairs, whiteboard, projector and bathroom)
- Chickens (in student built- chicken coops)
- Solar panels
- 20 acres pasture (tillable)
- Pond (and amphibians galore)
- Surrounding woods
- Delicious food grown on site
Fall 2021 Courses:
ND-3034 We Can Pickle That (1 Credits)
A key component to engage in eating locally, especially in a seasonally constricted location such as the North Country, is food preservation. In this course students will explore the science, culture, and practice of food preservation. Students will learn food preservation through hands on activities in CCE's commercial kitchen; how to can, ferment, dehydrate, root cellar, and freeze seasonally available produce from the St Lawrence University sustainability farm. In addition the course will facilitate local food into the dining hall by analyzing efficient processing methods. Finally a local food processor business model will be assessed. The three hour lecture and three hour lab allow for the hands on component of food preservation, breaks will be provided. Majority of the class will be the actual processing and preserving of food.
ENVS-3061NS Green Cafe: V 2.0 (1 Credits)
The Green Café aims to increase student engagement with local sustainable food options on campus and provide a platform for building and expressing social justice advocacy. Food intersects culture, identity, equity, ecology, and economics. Food is thus an important theoretical and applied space to explore and facilitate change around these topics .In this course, students will learn how our dominant food system became inequitable and unsustainable, and how ecological regenerative growing techniques, social equity, and economic viability can be built[back] in. This course is hands-on. Students will develop, brand, and run events on campus around local food, food access, and gratitude / injustice/ community. On a weekly basis, students will also combine guided academic learning with experiences farming, preparing food, and collaborating with SLU's dining services team, student groups, and other community members. This course satisfies the experiential learning component of the Business in Liberal Arts Major and Sociology major. Students must also register for a 3-hour Thursday lab.
ENVS-245SUST Solving Sustainability-NS (1 Credits)
*Year Long Flagship Program Required Course*
Too often discussion of sustainability problems can seem overwhelming and make people feel it's all hopeless. This course seeks to encourage students to get involved in their local and global community. The Sustainability Leadership curriculum focuses on five core competencies: systems thinking, anticipatory, normative, interpersonal and strategic. While these competencies overlap, this course emphasizes systems thinking (interaction between components in a sustainability issue), anticipatory thinking (what will happen if no intervention occurs), strategic thinking (what does a successful intervention and its outcome look like). To do this, students will understand case studies that model the relevant competencies and complete problem based learning that allows them to apply these same competencies. Finally, students will be asked to evaluate their intervention. Example case studies could include a successful global intervention in ozone depletion. The case study would model competencies: identifying the problem of ozone depletion, anticipating possible outcomes (what might cause the hole gets bigger or smaller) and strategic action (policy initiatives that addressed the issue). The focus of the Problem Based Learning will be decided upon collectively by students and faculty each semester drawing on faculty expertise and student interest. By instructor permission only. Solving Sustainability, requires students to concurrently register for a 0.5 credit Farming Practicum. Individuals committing to the spring Communicating Sustainably course (1.0 credit ANTHRO) and farming practicum (0.5 credit) are preferred. Counts as Nature Society (NS). Pre-req: ENVS-101, ENVS MAJORS ONLY.
ENVS-3035SUS Farming Practicum- N-S (0.5 Credits)
*Year Long Flagship Program Required Course*
Students will explore sustainable food production in all its facets through hands-on work at the Sustainability Farm. The students will learn culinary arts that take food from the field all the way to their dinner plates. In addition, student will learn about the different preservation methods including root cellaring, dehydrating, canning, and fermenting so this food can be consumed deep into winter. Farm work will involve vegetables, fruit, perennials, mushrooms, some grains, and animals. As a class, we will explore full diet production, or to put it plainly what is it that we actually eat and how can we produce it. Students will engage in sustainable farm topics such as reduce tillage, crop rotation, nutrient management, rotational grazing, cover cropping, mushroom production, and perennial-based agriculture. Challenges and barriers to the adoption of these techniques will also be addressed including appropriate scale and economic issues. The class will meet once a week to discuss theories behind sustainable agriculture, but majority of time will be hands-on learning through life on an organic farm.
Spring 2022 Courses:
ENVS-3071 Restorative Agriculture Practicum (1 Credits)
The Restorative Agriculture Practicum provides an experiential learning environment where students discover how to live sustainably while developing real-world problem-solving skills and related work experience. Sustainability is inherently interdisciplinary and values diversity. We welcome students from all backgrounds, experience levels, and academic interests. The course has required monthly interdisciplinary readings, reflection, & discussions with faculty during the semester and an in-person 100-hour summer farm practicum. Practicum dates to be arranged with the Program Director between May and Aug. Students can apply for a supplemental paid farm internship or faculty-mentored research position. The practicum involves the day-to-day work and skill-building of an organic farm (i.e. operations, livestock care, planting, cover cropping, weeding, harvesting, preserving) to prepare students for a multitude of careers. Students make connections and explore the local food system, including weekly time spent on a local farm. The course is ideal for students interested in sustainability, environmental science, climate science, biology, ecology, agriculture, soil science, animal science, plant research and horticulture, natural resource management, business and economics, community resilience, advocacy, environmental justice, public health, and policy. With the practicum, students learn by using a systems-based approach. The Restorative Agriculture practicum counts an ENVS one-credit elective. Students must complete the Sustainability Program application by the time of course registration. By instructor permission only.
ANTH 3074SUS: Communicating Sustainability w/CBL
*Year Long Flagship Program Required Course*
It’s not easy for us humans to just “be here now.” We live with the traumas and boons of history; we hope and fear for the future; we imagine geological time scales and timeless eternities. How we orient our social systems in time is key to whether or not we create a sustainable society. In this class we will explore what the geologist Marcia Bjornerud calls “time fullness,” which is a consciousness of both the ways in which our everyday lives are made possible by ancient and historical processes (e.g. the formation of fossil fuels; colonial dispossession) and the ways in which our present actions will have consequences for countless future generations (e.g. through climate change from burning fossil fuels extracted from the lands of Indigenous peoples). Our focus in this class will be on how to cultivate and communicate timefullness in a variety of contexts. As we explore research on how different societies orient themselves in time, students will work with local organizations committed to different facets of sustainability to help them craft and implement their communications strategies. This class will thus push you to work and think in two directions: towards a bird’s eye view that allows you to see the cultural production of time in complex socio-ecological systems like Balinese irrigation and the global matsutake mushroom market; and towards a worm’s eye view that comes from grappling with the nitty-gritty communication needs of a North Country sustainability-oriented organization.
This course includes an experiential learning component known as Community Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement, outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester. On average students can expect to spend at least two hours per week at their assigned placement site (travel time to and from the site is not included and is moderate for placements beyond the Canton community). Students are encouraged to think about the experiential aspect of the community placement, how that placement serves as part of the course materials, and how it will be incorporated into the class during the semester as the experience unfolds.
This course fulfills the SS general education requirement.
Sustainability Program News
Sustainability Program Receives Mars Wrigley Grant for Interdisciplinary “Chocolate Passport” Experience
St. Lawrence University students interested in all things chocolate are now able to embark on a tasty year-long adventure that includes studying chocolate’s rich history and its impact on past and present culture thanks to a recent grant from Mars Wrigley, the world's leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints, and fruity confections.
St. Lawrence University is one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review, which included St. Lawrence in its "Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition."