St. Lawrence University wins $32,000 grant for renovations of 'Sustainability Semester' classroom
Friday, January 18, 2013 - 6:24 am

 CANTON - The J.M. McDonald Foundation, Inc. has awarded St. Lawrence University a grant of $32,000 to renovate a multi-use classroom for its Sustainability Semester, launching in the spring.

Similar to the highly successful Adirondack Semester, students in the Sustainability Semester will live and take courses together. These courses will address themes of sustainability, such as land and water use and food production from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. The program will be located near the St. Lawrence campus on farm property owned by the Cornell Cooperative Extension and leased by the University.

Initially, 12 students will live there, with two program staff members on site, taking courses that focus on sustainability from such disciplines as environmental studies, English, philosophy, history, performing arts, biology and geology. Students will also work on site to grow food, build and help renovate energy-efficient structures, and live as sustainable as possible. In addition, students will engage with local community organizations and individuals with special experiences in land use and food production.

Work is under way to renovate a building for use as a residence by the students, while the grant will assist in funding creation of classroom space in a neighboring building. In addition to classes, the space will also be used by the program's community partners - local artisans and sustainability experts - to conduct workshops for students and the wider community. Program organizers also plan to host visits from local public schools for tours and hands-on activities, with the goal of creating an educational model for the community and for other institutions.

The J.M. McDonald Foundation, based in Evergreen, Colorado, has awarded St. Lawrence several grants in the past, for projects ranging from the construction of the Johnson Hall of Science to funding for athletics facilities.