Sustainability Semester


The Sustainability Semester (SS) is a 13-week fall semester program that explores the many ways we can contribute to sustainable, resilient futures for our communities in the midst of our rapidly changing planet. Discover the sustainability of places through canoeing 70 miles from the top of the watershed at Merry Lea to Lake Michigan, hiking trails, and interacting with various community members and sustainability professionals.

Within SS, students dig into personal leadership development while also reading widely to connect with insights and ideas from diverse disciplines. Equipped with these personal and global insights, students clarify their unique strengths and work with others to catalyze growth.

Students explore how to influence the holistic health of communities as they experience many aspects of the social, economic and environmental systems our society relies on. Discover how to use values and ethics to impact climate change, ecological degradation, and other sustainability challenges the earth is facing.

SS is an integral part of the Sustainability Studies major and minor, but is open to all majors and students from other colleges seeking to transfer credits or gain a certificate.

Watch Video

Watch this video to learn more about the Sustainability Leadership Semester.

Program Distinctives

Live and learn about sustainability in the field

  • Explore and live in the outdoor classroom of Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center’s 1,189-acre nature preserve.
  • Hike our 8 miles of trails through a mosaic of restored native ecosystems, kayak or boat on four bodies of water, or utilize our spaces for personal recreation or meditation.
  • Live in Indiana’s first LEED Platinum set of buildings: Rieth Village. The cottages are situated within Merry Lea Teaching Farm, providing sustainable features like: solar panels, solar water heaters, local timber, pervious pavement, ground-source heating and cooling, a wind turbine, an adjacent kitchen garden…and the list goes on.

Experience learning as a communal endeavor

  • Work closely with a team of faculty and a small cohort of other passionate students, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise.
  • Acquire hands on experience in gaining skills for communicating and cooperating with all stakeholders on a given issue.
  • Build and maintain healthy communities by interacting and working with community members. Wrestle together with the complex and interdisciplinary nature of the issues and create steps toward positive change.


If you have any doubts about how SS fits into your personal academic plan, please talk with your academic advisor or contact Jonathon Schramm at

Sustainability News & Events

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Faculty & Staff

John Mischler

Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education & Director of ASI

Jonathon Schramm

Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education

Ruth Mischler

Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Education

Jeremiah Sharp

Residence Life Coordinator & Environmental Educator