Sustainability Semester Blog

A St. Lawrence University academic department blog

St. Lawrence University's Sustainability Semester is an off-campus living-learning program located 5 miles from the SLU campus where students create community together with the goals of living sustainably in a renovated farm house, growing and preserving their own food and building both theoretical and practical knowledge pertaining to sustainability. The students take four classes together on site, all focused on aspects of sustainability and travel to Boston for a 2 week urban sustainability component. They cook and share meals together, bake bread, do farm and house chores, engage in projects including wood working, maple sugaring, soap making, and other crafts, and work with community members involved in homesteading, farming, green building and more. This blog is written by the students participating in the Sustainability Semester and gives a snap shot of their reflections and experiences.


By Emma Phillips and Sean Reville Imagine, if you will, a place where you are surrounded by rolling green hills and forest; a place where you know each and every one of your neighbors, who all live within 500 feet of you; a place where community dinners are 4 times a week, and afterwards songs are... read full story
By Anna Hughes and Will McMaster ‘Why is everyone so tired in early April? Because they just finished a long, 31 day March!’  Although it was a long and cold March, April is bringing warmer weather that is rejuvenating and energizing us all!  The chickens are roaming far beyond their coop... read full story
Emma Phillips & Anna Hughes Martin Luther King once said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.”  While this quote clearly speaks to movements that tackled large-scale injustices like the Civil Rights Movement, it can also be applied to... read full story
By Kim Haab and Sam Haab Cutting boards—versatile, stylish, and underappreciated; the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Here at the Sustainability Semester where we cook all of our own meals, we have certainly come to value the usefulness of the cutting board. For this reason, when presented with the... read full story
Will McMaster and Sean Reville Friday started off like any other day. There were breakfast smoothies and hot oatmeal in our bellies as we scurried to finish our rough draft papers for Bill’s class. Most of us were so busy writing we did not even notice that Ben, the homesteader-in-resident, and... read full story
By: Emma Phillips and Kim Haab Buildings, including homes, are major users of electricity and energy in the United States. Buildings in the U.S. consume 74% of all electricity and 40% of all energy produced (Sustainability Principles and Practices, Margaret Robertson, pg. 183). There are always... read full story
By Will McMaster and Sam Haab “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide.... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait... read full story
By Sean Reville & Anna Hughes The clanging sound of the dinner bell echoes throughout the house. It is a rude awakening from blissful dreams, but the aroma of hot coffee helps ease in the transition from sleep to consciousness. Downstairs there are scrambled eggs, oatmeal and assorted cereals... read full story
By: Emma Phillips and Will McMaster This past Friday, a local cheesemaker named Josh Carter traveled up to the Sustainability House to show us the process behind making cheese. Is spending an entire Friday morning making cheese time well spent? You cheddar believe it! It’s truly a grate experience... read full story
By Anna Hughes and Sam Haab Food storage is an aspect of sustainability that is often overlooked by the general public. However, here at the Sustainability Semester where local organic food is a key value, food storage is actually one of the most important parts of sustainable living. People often... read full story
By Sean Reville and Kim Haab “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: Love. They must do it for love. Farmers farm for the love of farming.”~Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings... read full story
By Lanika Sanders As I unclipped my helmet and rolled my bike up to Sweetcore Farm’s little barn, I had no idea what to expect. Not only had I never worked on a small-scale, family-owned farm before, I had never worked on a farm, period. Luckily, David and Kathy Rice, Sweetcore's owners, were just... read full story