Two small, isolated Maine colleges that focus on sustainability and the environment know they aren’t for everyone.
Students have to work in the local community, where they experience the real world and reflect on how they can apply that and their book learning to impact the future of the world.
“Everything we work on is involved in the community. It isn’t theoretical, but real,” said Spencer Gray, a fourth-year student from Woolwich who is working within College of the Atlantic’s new Community Energy Center, which matches students with solar and other sustainability efforts in the local community. Many students like Gray self-direct their studies, and there are ample opportunities for collaborations with other students and the one-on-one interactions with professors that small colleges afford.
That may seem a lot for young students to shoulder. But they make a deliberate decision to study in the heart of Maine’s farm country at Unity College or at the edge of the ocean in Bar Harbor in College of the Atlantic, preparing for a careers as sustainability professionals, an emerging specialty that cuts across multiple industries.
“COA was founded in 1969 with three goals: recreate higher education entirely; seed the world with bright, entrepreneurial thinkers for the environment; and use the coast of Maine to define what we do as an institution,” said President Darron Collins…