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 internships off campus and around the world, or in our Sustainability Studies Minor, Environmental Science Minor, or Outdoor Studies and Tourism major, students can find multiple paths by which to study and reflect upon nature and our impact on it. You can also consider coming to Maryville College as a high school student to participate in the Great Smokies Experience and get college credit.  

The college maintains a 140-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. MC 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, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden or in the rainforests of Costa Rica. 

Students work for an outdoor leadership company, Mountain Challenge, located on site in the solar-powered and LEED Gold certified Crawford House and are part of their Fit. Green. Happy.® initiative. And our alumni work as rangers in national parks, as renewable energy entrepreneurs, environmental lawyers, ecologists and nature-based writers and sustainable artists.

Explore this site, take our Green Action Tour and learn about MC’s sustainability journey as well as student-organized programs like the Maryville College Food Recovery Network combating food waste and fighting hunger. Come and join us each year as we celebrate Earth Week at Maryville College (in April) or join us on campus anytime throughout the year as we hope to see you on campus, so you can help create the next chapter in our story.

American Campuses Act on Climate 

On Nov. 19 2015, Maryville College officially took the The Obama Administration's White House’s American Campuses Act on Climate pledge, which promises a transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus.



Since 2010 Maryville College has been 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). Maryville College has received Silver and Bronze ratings for sustainability as part of STARS.  To see a snapshot of our most recent report, please visit the MC STARS REPORT.

STARS Charter Participant


Earth Week 2014 at Maryville College, April 21-25th 



Mon., April 21:

— 12:55-2 p.m.: Court Street Clean-Up
Students in Dr. Mark O’Gorman’s and Adrienne Schwarte’s classes will pick up litter on the streets bordering campus. Gloves, bags and safety vests will be provided. All are welcome to join the group.
— 3:30 p.m.: Organic, Local Food and Energy Efficiency Forum with Metz Culinary Management
Sponsored by Tennessee Valley Authority and EnergyRight Solutions for Higher Education Internship Program, the forum will be held in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium.

Tues., April 22: Earth Day:

 12:30-1:45 p.m.: Film festival in Pearsons Dining Room
 3 p.m.: Announcement of MC’s partnership with the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
The announcement and celebration will take place at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

Wed., April 23:

 1 p.m.: Presentation by Amelia Brumbaugh
Maryville College sophomore Amelia Brumbaugh will discuss her environmental experiences during her recent trip to Ghana. She received one of the first Maryville College Sustainability Airfare Grants, which paid for her plane ticket to Ghana and allowed her to explore environmental and sustainable connections in the country. The presentation will be held in Thaw Hall, Room 216. Organic refreshments will be served.

Thurs., April 24:

 3:30 p.m.: Bring Your Own T-Shirt (BYOT-SHIRT) Tie-Dye T-Shirt Event
Bring a T-shirt and join in the tie-dyeing fun! The event will be held in front of Pearsons Hall, next to the Solar Dok tables.
— 7:00 p.m.: Tropical Ecology and Conservation: Bonaire Video Competition
Come to Lawson Auditorium (Fayweather) at 7:00pm to watch 6 short videos (4-5 minutes each) about a trip 12 MC students took over spring break to the Caribbean Island of Bonaire. Learn about the unique sustainability/protection efforts of the island, the conservation contributions MC students made through community service and research, and discover both the beauty of the reefs as well as the perils they face. Come see how Maryville College doesn’t just THINK globally, we ACT globally too! At the end of the presentations YOU get to vote for the best video!

Fri., April 25:

 3:30 p.m.: Ice Cream Social and World Environment Day Poster Exhibition
Students in Adrienne Schwarte’s Design I class will display their World Environment Day poster designs through digital projection powered by the College’s Solar Dok tables in front of Pearsons Hall. Bring your own bowl and spoon and enjoy some ice cream, too!