Sustainable Community Living

One of Berea’s Being and Becoming “learning goals” is to understand the relationship between humans and the natural world. To advance this goal, the College established the multidisciplinary Sustainability & Environmental Studies Department (including an academic minor) that emphasizes experiential learning and the application of ecological design to the development of sustainable communities. The Ecovillage, an experiment in sustainable living, is part of an on-going program of campus renovation and construction based on ecological design that offers many opportunities for students to participate in the development of a sustainable campus. In addition, the College has restructured its traditional agriculture department into a model Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (including a major and a minor) that focuses on sustainable agriculture and small-scale farming. Through these departments and more, Berea students and faculty explore how current resource needs can be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This is a complex question with social, ecological, economic, spiritual, ethical, political, scientific, and technological dimensions that invites the participation of students from nearly every discipline in helping the College to teach and practice sustainability.