Short Essay

In order for the selection committee to gain a better understanding of who you are and why you are interested in the Sustainability Semester, please answer the following five questions. You should address each of the questions separately and thoughtfully. Complete your essays and send them by e-mail to

1. How will the Sustainability Semester further your academic interests? Have you had prior course work or other experience that is relevant? If not (and we do not require prior course work or other experiences) why are you academically interested in this program?

2. What does sustainability mean to you? How do you engage with principles of sustainability on a personal level?

3. Among the most memorable, rewarding and challenging aspects of the Sustainability Semester is living in a tight-knit community of 12. Living in community takes work. You'll spend a significant number of hours each week cooking, cleaning, doing house and farm chores, and discussing community issues in addition to classes, homework and other activities. Living in community also takes tolerance, honesty, optimism and patience. Describe your experiences with communal living, whether they were at a summer camp, growing up with siblings, or in your dorm. What lessons did you learn that may be helpful for the Sustainability Semester? What challenges do you anticipate? What strategies will you use to handle them?

4. What do you hope to get out of your experience on the Sustainability Semester? How will you contribute to the experience and to the group?

5. While it is intended that there be cross-fertilization and a sharing of values between those participating in the Sustainability Semester and campus, the semester is an off campus program and thus there will not be daily interaction with the campus community.  Please discuss the personal and general challenges and opportunities you feel are related to participating in an off campus program located only four miles from campus. 

6. During the semester students will have the opportunity to work in the community on a mini internship relating to sustainability. To help with our planning please rank the topical areas below to indicate your interests.  Please explain what you are most excited about learning/doing for your top three choices.  If you have specific ideas please share those as well.  Possible topics include: agriculture/food, social justice/poverty, renewable energy/green building, activism/political or community action, education, campus sustainability