Unity College… Sustainability Science, Vision and an Unlikely Success Story
The Detroit Public Television series about energy in America, Beyond The Light Switch, filmed at Unity College over several days in 2010. Footage from that visit has appeared on the series, which is currently airing on Public Broadcasting System stations across the United States.
Unity College was chosen for inclusion due to its association with the array of solar panels formerly atop the White House during the administration of President Jimmy Carter. It was Carter who created the Department of Energy and attempted to lead America to produce more energy from renewable sources, placing the solar panels atop the White House as a largely symbolic act of leadership.
David Biello, show host and Editor of Scientific American magazine, wrote about Unity’s connection to the solar panels — which came to the College from government storage in 1990 — and emphasis on sustainability in his blog. Now, the web site for Beyond the Light Switch is featuring a story with photos highlighting the leadership role that Unity College is taking with regard to energy consumption, building (TerraHaus and Unity House), land use, curriculum focused on sustainability science, mission, and willingness to push the boundaries of convention in service to environmental problem solving.
From its founding in 1965 by Unity area townspeople on the site of a former chicken hatchery to the present, Unity has defied the odds. What some may have initially viewed as a drawback, its rural location, turned into a transformative resource that currently informs every part of Unity’s hands-on approach to environmental learning today.
Unity organically developed from a college that initially attracted an equal measure of conservative rural Mainers focused on futures working the land and urbanites with a zest for the liberal arts, into an environmental college focused on the significant challenges facing the planet