A framework for the future

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Pellet boilers, like this one in a silo outside of the Quimby Library, heat the entire building using net-zero carbon wood pellets. A renewable source of energy, heating with pellets can cost almost 50% less than fossil fuel alternatives. This biomass fuel is made in Maine, and heats three buildings on the Unity College campus. Photo by Sass Linneken.

Sustainability Science: A problem-based and solution-oriented framework that brings together the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to study and address sustainability in human-environment coupled systems.

Sustainability is not an add-on at Unity College. It’s what we do. Our mission is to ensure the sustainability of this planet and all the life that calls it home—and we act with a great sense of urgency. 

At Unity College, we think, work, and live sustainably.

Sustainability Science: Front and Center

Our Environmental Citizen Curriculum forms the core of all undergraduate degrees at Unity College. This is because sustainability is not just about composting, recycling, and advancing energy efficiency—sustainability is an entire mindset for how we see ourselves and our interactions with the planet. 

Unity College’s unique framework of sustainability science:

  • Stresses the connections across the many disciplines in the larger field of environmental studies
  • Prepares students to take on influential environmental leadership roles in a wide range of careers
  • Provides a solid liberal arts foundation for communicating and thinking critically about environmental challenges 
  • Includes coursework in project and financial management—essential skills for post-graduation success 

Sustainability Starts at Home

Unity College is part of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a national effort in higher education to address global climate change. By signing the commitment, we’ve pledged to implement plans that will make our campus climate neutral—and we’ve made great strides, including leading a national movement with our divestment from fossil fuels.

What’s more, we built the first super-efficient, certified "passive house" student residence in the country. And we even have an on-campus root cellar and animal barn, home to a college-owned supply of livestock that allows for various ways of practicing sustainability in our own backyard. 

Our dedicated sustainability staff consists of over a dozen students and three full-time employees. They work to minimize Unity’s environmental impact and provide hands-on experience for our students—such as at McKay Farm and Research Station, where students learn skills firsthand about running a successful agricultural business.

Unity College Sustainability PrinciplesSustainability Science Works

We understand that global environmental change is and will continue to be the central problem of our students’ lifetimes. We also understand that if we’re going to be successful in creating a sustainable society, we need new ways of thinking and working together. 

At Unity College, we’ve embraced the revolutionary approach of sustainability science because—simply put—it works. Its transdisciplinary, practice-oriented methods equip students to preserve and reconstruct the ecology of our struggling planet.

Visit our blog, the Unity College Sustainability Monitor, to read more about sustainability efforts on campus.