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Sustainability Semester Students Working This Summer as Interns at Residence

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CANTON — Three students, Emma Duffany ’15, Lauren Olson ’15, and Jake Cockrell ’14, who participated in St. Lawrence University's first-ever Sustainability Semester during the Spring 2013 semester are now interning this summer at the residence farm on Route 68 in the Town of Canton.

Following on the heals of its successful Adirondack Semester, St. Lawrence’s Sustainability Semester is an off-campus living-learning program, which encourages students to consider sustainability from both a local and a global perspective. During the program, students delve into complex and challenging environmental issues through intensive study and hands-on experience.

Emma, of St. Johnsbury, Vt., has spent several summers working on farms and enjoys hard work and being outdoors. However, she believes there is a detachment in the way most people live and the way they get their food.

"We've either become lazy or it's just how the system was set up, but we don't see where our food comes from when we shop in the grocery store," she said. "People should know where their food is coming from."

Emma was looking for a community of people who shared the same values, and she found it in the Sustainability Semester.

Jacob, of Readfield, Maine, signed up for the program because a friend of his convinced him to enroll. While his friend subsequently dropped out, he decided to stay, and it has been a life-changing experience for him.

"Many people in this country have a pretty high standard of living, but at what cost?" he asked. "I've come to realize if something is not good for the earth, it's probably not good for me either."

After participating in the program, he is now more aware of where food is (or is not) coming from, and he now knows he can grow his own organic food.

Lauren, of Colchester, Vt., was looking to do something different from the normal college experience.

"I wanted to do things instead of just learning the theory in class or writing an essay," she said. "I don't want to live a conventional lifestyle. I just can't see myself working a 9-to-5 job. I want to find my own niche, and this way of life is very rewarding."

Since taking part in the Sustainability Semester, Lauren says she has come to realize what an "amazing community" of like-minded people live in St. Lawrence County. Even though she never worked on farms before, she now has visited and worked on several nearby farms and learned different techniques for successful growing.

The Sustainability Semester program will begin accepting applications for the Spring 2014 program during the Fall semester.

For more information on the program and to learn more about the site, visit the Sustainability Semester webpage.