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Sustainable Academics

A Morris education is an ideal foundation for any career—especially one in sustainability

At Morris the goal is to study widely, work across disciplines, and step back to look at the big picture. The qualities of a Morris education are the same qualities that'll help solve the sustainability challenges ahead:

  • Critical thinking
  • Broad knowledge base
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity


Sustainability is an important part of our academic offerings and is integrated into most of our disciplines. In fact, more than three-fourths of them have a sustainability-related course.

  • There are two majors devoted to the environment, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, which cover policy, economics, and cultural issues.
  • We build climate and carbon literacy into many of our courses and co-curricular activities. Environmental policy issues are addressed in courses across varied disciplines. We also make ample use of the renewable energy resources on campus.
  • Students perform internships with outreach organizations like the Center for Small Towns to assist with community-based sustainability initiatives.
  • The Green Energy tour plays a role in some courses, introducing students to scientific and policy issues.
  • Students take advantage of our renewable energy projects on campus, learning more about their operations and conducting independent research.
  • In the area of biomass gasification, our courses are training the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, and policymakers in this emerging sector.


In addition to our curricula, Morris faculty members are pursuing research and projects across the spectrum of sustainability issues. Faculty members include students in research related to renewable energy and the environment.

  • Arne Kildegaard (economics/management) has worked with students to study various economic impacts of biomass, different renewable energy systems, and wind ownership structures.
  • Ted Pappenfus (chemistry) has worked with thin-films for solar cells.
  • Nancy Carpenter (chemistry) has performed algal research.
  • Timna Wyckoff (biochemistry) performed research on differences in bacterial resistance between conventional and organic dairy herds.
  • Jess Larson (studio art) instituted Fashion Trashion, an upcycle fashion show.
  • Ray Schultz (theatre arts) and Siobhan Bremer (theatre arts) have directed environmental theater productions on campus, including As You Like It, featuring recycled costumes and props, and Sophie and the Adventures of Ice Island, a play with environmental themes for children.
  • Cyrus Bina (economics/management) has researched and written widely on the geopolitics of oil.

Morris has a strong commitment to leadership in sustainable academics, and we continue to develop and expand our work and offerings in this important field.

Sustainability Leaders for the Future

Thanks to generous grant funding, the Sustainability Leaders for the Future (SLF) program is developing the next generation of leaders prepared to live in a carbon-constrained, more sustainable world.

Replicable across other college campuses, the program builds on Morris’s international reputation for:

  • Engaging student leaders
  • Developing sustainability curriculum
  • Building environmentally sound facilities

The Sustainability Leaders for the Future program is sustained in part by a grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

Learn more about SLF »