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.


Margaret MacDonald & Myles Trainer The tail end of January, February, and much of March saw an onslaught of wintry weather. The harsh cold, ice, and wind necessitated a hunkering down both of mind and body. At the Sustainability House, it was at this time that we took up the task of building... read full story
David SmithCaeleigh Warburton March 7, 2014 While practical knowledge and critical discussion are important components of the Sustainability Semester, the nine of us have acknowledged a need for the group to push and develop our actual practice of this information further.  Activism is often... read full story
Lanika & Sean You know the song “It’s Not Easy Being Green” by Kermit the Frog? Kermit, it turns out, was very wrong. One of the coolest perks about being students on the Sustainability Semester is our access to field excursions. Really, that’s just a fancy way of saying we have a ton of field... read full story
Myles Trainer & Jamie Oriol A tree comes from the ground; lasagna comes from the oven, but is it really that simple? Today, as a nation, we often forget about the intricate ingredients or biological factors that contribute to simple aspects of our everyday lives such as cooking and eating... read full story
Kaitlyn Lawrence & Margaret MacDonaldFebruary 14, 2014 According to Aldo Leopold, the land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of... read full story
Lizzy Gendell Caeleigh Warburton February 4, 2014 There isn’t much that catches the eye while driving down highway 68, but the long and hilly roads carry much more than a few old houses and some vacant barns.  Amidst the sprawling forests, fields, and streams sits a modest renovated... read full story
By Jess McGlinchey The autumn leaves are falling, and winter is fast approaching. As the season of bare feet and fresh fruit is coming to an end, the residents of the Sustainability House are busily preparing for the months of frozen ground and short daylight hours. You may have wondered, how do... read full story
By Amy Feiereisel Time in the semester and on the farm is tick-tick-ticking away. You would think that everything would be winding down at the house, but the last few weeks have been full of excitement, guests, and a plethora of food projects for our class based at the Sustainability House, Dirt to... read full story
Perhaps you are not aware, but farms often get a bad rap. In my experience, there are certain pre-conceived notions about the countryside that “city slickers” often have, without having actually faced a farm. Knee high mud, filth, annoying noises, and dangerous creatures and machines name a few.... read full story
by Olivia Downs If you’ve ever had the pleasure of feeding pigs on a farm, you may know that it’s not always a walk in the park. One of our daily chores here at the farm house is getting those gilts their grub, and as I learned this past week—they don’t always make it easy. Every morning and... read full story
By Amanda DelVicario One of the best things about living at the sustainability house is the constant availability of fresh bread. Whether it be white, wheat, sourdough, seed or fruit filled, there always seems to be some sort of fresh baked bread around. And the process of making this bread is... read full story
Today I woke up before the sunrise. I popped out of bed like I do every morning at six thirty, to catch up on assignments and enjoy the quiet solitude of the kitchen table as I sipped my coffee and ate my oatmeal. I waited patiently for the ripeness of the blazing sun to materialize from below the... read full story