Maryville College’s location as the four-year liberal arts college closest to the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains has long infused its culture with an interest in conservation and environmental protection. Respect for the region’s indigenous Cherokee heritage, and for the 19th century Scots-Irish Presbyterian immigrants to East TN who founded the college, both fostered the school’s long-standing tradition of community service, faith and justice. Scientific research on the flora and fauna of this biodiverse region, and measurement of humanity’s impact on this space has been a touchstone of the work of the college for decade. Whether through traditional liberal arts majors, through courses in discipline specific majors or the interdisciplinary environmental studies major, applying lessons learned in class through practica or internships off campus and around the world, or as a planner for a future sustainability certificate program, students can find multiple paths by which to study and reflect upon nature and our impact on it.
Maryville College Solar Picnic Tables, Installed April 2012
The college maintains a 120-plus acred Maryville College Woods (MC Woods), the largest forested space in the City of Maryville and designated as a TN Stewardship Forest. Its wood-chip powered steam plant was built as a cogeneration demonstration project for the 1982 World’s Fair. For 15 years, MC faculty and students have participated in an all-freshman January Term environmental course; Students, staff and faculty have traveled together to almost every continent, studying how culture, science and economics intertwine in rural China, the valleys of Venezuela and Tibet, towns in Thailand and Scotland, or in the rainforests of Costa Rica. MC also maintains a college-level presidential advisory committee on ecological issues, The Environment and Forestry Advisory (EFAC) committee. And in 2010, the College approved its first campus sustainability plan (see on the sidebar and also more information in the recent article about Campus Sustainability Day.
Students work for an outdoor leadership company located on site in the solar-powered and currently under LEED certification Crawford House. And our alumni work as rangers in national parks, as renewable energy entrepreneurs, environmental lawyers, ecologists and nature-based writers and sustainable artists.
As our Physical Plant director said in a recent interview about MC’s sustainability record, “I think we were green before people knew it was cool.”
Explore this site, and learn about MC’s sustainability journey. We hope to see you on campus, so you can help create the next chapter in our story.
List of our sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course inventory: Download.
Information about our faculty who are engaged in sustainability-related research:
Maryville College is currently an institutional member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and a Charter Participant in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), where Maryville College received a Bronze rating for sustainability on campus. To learn more about Maryville College's participation in STARS or see the report online, please visit the AASHE STARS page on the MC website or contact MC STARS Administrator, Adrienne Schwarte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryville College is also a member of the GoGreenET Green Business Recognition Program and was selected as a Green Achiever in April 2012.