Instead of just pushing students to recycle and take shorter showers or use just one paper towel here and there, a number of schools have made deeper commitments to being green — including plans to cut down fossil fuel usage, increase spending on local and organic food and teach about sustainability.
“Everything we work on is involved in the community. It isn’t theoretical, but real,” Spencer Gray ’17 tells the Portland Press Herald. Many College of the Atlantic 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.
In 2016, a prototype college program based on College of the Atlantic was created on the island of Ōsakikamijima, Japan, with the first students designing the future college. The Human Ecology Lab in Ōsakikamijima was both a proof of concept and a demonstration of the ways that students could learn through community-based projects in sustainable energy, food systems, design thinking, entrepreneurship and community activism.
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In the Practicum in Renewable Energy, students collaborate to design and build a structure or project that makes use of sustainable energy principles. Building a traditional post-and-beam shed to house tractors at COA’s Peggy Rockefeller Farms, shown here, and topping it with solar panels was one such recent project.
Jade Jones ’19 explores the wilds of Acadia National Park. During the regular academic year Outdoor Programs organizes regular trips in the park.
Students in the spring Play Production Workshop perform a riotous rendition of The Sneeze, a collection of Anton Chekhov’s comic plays and stories translated and adapted by Michael Frayn.