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MUM established the first four-year Sustainable Living degree program in 2003, and is a leader in the field. This new academic discipline is now being pioneered at MUM and an increasing number of other institutions around the world. Because it is so new as a discipline there are no broadly accepted guidelines on what constitutes an education in Sustainable Living. In contrast, more traditional disciplines such as engineering, business, philosophy, etc. have curriculum standards and specialties that are widely accepted by institutions offering these programs.

B.A. in Sustainable Living

This 4-year degree prepares students for careers in sustainable community development and environmental coordination, or further study and research. Students interested in receiving a B.A. in Sustainable Living must complete at least 56 credits worth of courses from our program.

Minor in Sustainable Living

A minor in Sustainable Living provides students with a practical foundation for understanding the principles and practices of environmental design for communities. Any student can receive a minor in Sustainable Living by completing at least five core courses and one elective from our program.

Special Features

Hands-on projects during and after class that make abstract concepts learned in class concrete. For example, in addition to learning the theory of how wind generators work, our students have designed and built three generations of wind generators from scratch. We’ve worked to build a regional food system. And our faculty and students have played key roles in Mayor Ed Malloy’s strategic plan for sustainability in Fairfield.

One Course at a time – The Block System — our students are fully immersed in one course each month, and then move on to the next course. The block system is immensely popular with our students because they learn more, and it eliminates the stress of taking 4 or 5 subjects at once.

Internships – Students can earn up to 16 credits of internships that provide on-the-job training. In some cases, internships provide a stipend or cover expenses. We work to maintain relationships for local, regional, national, and international internship opportunities. Examples include sustainable agriculture, the building trades, environmental organizations, green business, and many other venues that provide practical experience in selected areas of interest.

Certifications – We offer academic credit for successful completion of professional certifications in sustainability. From time to time we offer certifications as part of our program. Professional certification requirements are constantly changing and our in-program offerings also change as conditions in the broader community evolve. Certification offerings have included Building Biology and Permaculture Design, as well as Resnet Energy Rater Training and AutoCADD.

What Our Program Offers

  • Personal development of consciousness
  • Broad-based understanding of sustainability for communities
  • A new worldview grounded in hope, and self-awareness
  • Redesign for regeneration and renewal
  • Training for specific (green) jobs or careers through tracks and internships
  • Hands-on application of principles, as well as theory
  • Hands-on workshops for community and homesteading energy and water management
  • A living laboratory for the development of creative solutions
  • Training to be a leader in the great enterprise of creating a sustainable future for our world

What Our Program Doesn’t Offer

  • Community college style vocational/job training
  • An engineering or architecture degree
  • A conventional environmental science education
  • Pollution control training
  • A guide to increase efficiency and substitution alone
  • A step-by-step process on how to live in the woods in a self-reliant way (individual self sufficiency)
David Fisher
  • Chair, Department of Sustainable Living
  • Director of SL Masters Program

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Mark Stimson
  • Director of the Sustainable Building & Built Environment Track
  • 641-472-7000 ext. 2283
  • Sustainable Living Workshop

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Lonnie Gamble
  • Co-Director, Sustainable Living Undergraduate Program
  • Assistant Professor of Sustainable Living

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