Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Studying Sustainability at Hampshire College

Hampshire College has a wide assortment of sustainability focused academics. While the school may be best known for its massive solar power project (the school is working towards generating all of its electricity from solar energy arrays by the end of 2016) it also has a green curriculum. This includes the study of traditional sustainability topics like business and agriculture and prescient subjects like social change in the anthropocene era, which challenges students in every discipline to consider their role in human survival.

The school includes the Food, Farm, and Sustainability Institute which offers an interdisciplinary academic program focusing on food production and sustainable agriculture, centered at the vibrant Hampshire College Farm.

National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education Grant

In partnership with Holyoke Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Hampshire has received funding for “Application of Clean Energy Technology to Sustainable Agriculture Practice.” The grant will include support for clean energy infrastructure and course development, and will foster collaboration across the institutions. Proposed projects at Hampshire College include a moveable greenhouse with heat pump technology, as well as a solar array at the Hampshire College Farm that will provide power for new climate-controlled root and vegetable storage facilities, a mobile refrigeration unit, and a tractor that will be converted from diesel to battery power.

Hampshire is an innovative liberal arts college with a multidisciplinary approach. The college has a multicultural curriculum and it is committed to civic and social engagement as well as responsible leadership. The school is working on building a culture of sustainability with efforts to integrate food, operations, and curriculum.

As explained on Hampshire's website:
"The sustainability initiative is focused on four key transitions. Building upon Hampshire College's strong foundation of innovative research, forward-thinking decision-making, and environmental action and awareness, Hampshire is actively transforming its food systems, campus operations, creative curriculum, and campus culture. This effort capitalizes on the ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and commitment to social justice that have always characterized the Hampshire College community. Our work on these four key transitions is guided by the Sustainability Transition Advisory Committee (STAC), the Food, Farm, and Sustainability Advisory Committee, and the Environmental Committee, which oversee and organize the transition process."
Sample Areas of Study
  • Agricultural Studies
  • Applied Design
  • Architecture and Environmental Design
  • Biological and Life Sciences
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability
  • Geology
  • Globalization/Third World Studies
  • Marine Science
Recent Courses at Hampshire
  • Agriculture, Ecology, and Society
  • Vernal Pools: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation
  • Chemistry and the Physics of Solar Energy and Energy Storage Technology
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming
  • Hot War: the Impact of Climate Change on International Peace & Security
  • Innovations for Change: Problem Solving for the Future
  • Sustainable Landscaping Practicum
  • Sustainable Water Resources
  • The Future of Food
  • U.S. Climate Law and Policy
  • Agriculture, Food, and Human Health
  • Crafting a Sustainable Design Lens
  • Designing the Post-Suburban Community
  • Economics and the Environment
  • Kitchen Ecology
  • The Microbial Farm
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Zero Impact House
Recent Student Projects
  • Agricultural Systems Thinking: Re-designing urban farming systems that are radically inclusive of marginalized communities Imagine the Earth: Illustrating Environmental Science and Philosophy
  • Profit vs. People: A Case Study in the Environmental and Social Impact of Big Oil; Human Health
  • Learning for Our Future: Moving Towards a Sustainable Worldview
  • Tropical Reforestation
  • Wetland Biogeochemistry and Climate Change
  • Ecology and Management of Three Caribbean Fisheries
  • Enviro-Education at a School in the Woods: an Ethnographic Journey
  • Where the River Runs Dry: An Analysis of the Ecological and Socioeconomic Impacts of Large Dams on the Indus Delta
  • Path of the Dharma Farmer: Seeking a Sustainable Spirituality
  • You Are Where You Eat: Pedagogy for an Eco-Justice, Health-Oriented Sense of Place
Five College Programs and Certificates
  • Five College Sustainability Studies Certificate
  • Five College Coastal and Marine Sciences Program
  • Five College International Relations Certificate
  • Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS)
For more information on sustainability oriented programs and certificates click here.


Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources." It contains links to over 325 articles covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, student eco-initiatives, green school buildings, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.  

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