Dickinson College, founded in 1773, is a highly selective, private residential liberal-arts college known for its innovative curriculum. Its mission is to offer students a useful education in the arts and sciences that will prepare them for lives as engaged citizens and leaders. The 180-acre campus of Dickinson College is located in the heart of historic Carlisle, Pa. The college offers 42 majors with an emphasis on international studies, has more than 40 study-abroad programs in 24 countries on six continents and offers 13 modern languages.
Dickinson embraces the goals of accountability and sustainability as individuals and as an institution. Our approach to sustainability encompasses social, economic, and environmental systems, problems, and goals. Our working definition of sustainability is simple: the capacity to flourish from generation to generation. We are enhancing the college curriculum and co-curricular programs to support exploration of questions about the state of environmental, social, and economic systems, processes and underlying causes of changes in these systems, human and environmental consequences of the changes, and strategies to build resilience and sustain valued resources.
The Center for Sustainability Education at Dickinson College
Synthesizing the needs of the curriculum, the physical campus, and the local community, CSE supports the development of sustainability courses and course content in all three academic divisions of the college, the creation and synthesis of co-curricular programs and events, student and faculty research projects, and community outreach initiatives. These opportunities create a living laboratory at Dickinson College, which requires the application of theory and practice by all community members to solve campus and real world problems.
The College Farm
Just minutes away from main campus, The Dickinson College Farm is a 180-acre working farm and educational resource that provides produce to the college’s dining hall, a local food bank and members of the farm’s co-op. Located a short drive from campus in Boiling Springs, Pa., the farm includes state-of-the-art sustainable operations, such as solar-electric and solar-hot-water systems. It is run by staff members and student workers and interns.
The Dickinson College Farm is a living laboratory that promotes sustainable agriculture, provides food to the local community and supports academic interests among faculty and students. The College Farm has not always been the 6 acres of food production that it is today.
The Farm actually began as a small student-run garden in 1999. From 2000 to 2006, the Student Garden grew from two 100-square-foot garden beds to a half acre mini-farm that was intensively managed and independent of any mechanization.
In 2007, the Student Garden Staff and Environmental Studies Department proposed to Dickinson an idea that would expand upon the success of the Student Garden and meet the growing interest of students to see more local food in the College Dining Hall. By transitioning the Student Garden Program to a farm venue, the opportunities to support student and faculty interests, supply the College Dining Hall with fresh ingredients, and promote sustainable land stewardship were limitless. Dickinson supported the proposal, and in early 2007, the College Farm tilled up ground and planted its first seeds.