Marlboro College is a learning environment that emphasizes sustainability, social justice, and community. The campus is located on the site of 19th-century hill farms, built around a cluster of restored historic buildings, and reflects the college's respect for the rural landscape and frugal community lifestyle. In many cases the tradition of a working landscape has continued, whether in the early maple sugaring operation, run as a commercial student venture, or the Christmas tree plantation, remnants of which may still be found behind campus. More recently, students have operated an organic farm since 2002 and helped harvest and mill pines from the college's own forests for use the recent Outdoor Program addition.
The early 1970s represented the birth of Marlboro's environmental studies curriculum. A long-standing interest supported at Marlboro by physicist John MacArthur, forester Halsey Hicks and several other faculty was enhanced by new faculty hires in chemistry, economics, biology, and anthropology. The faculty created a co-taught introductory survey course in environmental studies and began to support student work and sponsor interdisciplinary Plans in this growing field. Recent environmental studies students have specialized in areas ranging from sustainable energy and agriculture to environmental justice to environmental perspectives in literature.
More recently, Marlboro College launched a series of graduate and professional studies programs that further prepare students to create economic, social, and sustainable value in their workplaces and communities. These exciting programs expand Marlboro's degree options and extend our commitment to sustainability to the regional professional community. Also, workshops and speakers brought in by these graduate programs, and focused on social and environmental issues, enhance Marlboro's impact on sustainability locally.
Committees involved with sustainability efforts
- The Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)
- Environmental Quality Committee (EQC)
- Farm Committee
- Standing Building Committee
- Outdoor Program features extensive opportunities to engage with the local landscape, from snowshoeing to whitewater kayaking, as well as expeditionary learning much farther afield—Costa Rica, Belize and Ouje-Bougoumou, Quebec, among other places.
- Student Life encourages students to live in an environmentally friendly way in the dorms. Students are encouraged to recycle and to heat their dorm rooms properly.
- Work Coordinators are responsible for coordinating voluntary work on campus. Much voluntary work is ongoing and includes projects such as building the new Greenhouse and OP extensions and working on the farm. Each semester there is a dedicated "Work Day" (video) in which the whole community comes together to work on a variety of projects.
- The Kitchen is an integral part of sustainability and community life. The director and staff work with the Farm Committee on planning what to plant, using college farm grown food, and composting kitchen and dining hall waste. They also work with the Food Committee to provide high quality, locally sourced produce and meals that meet students dietary needs.