Campus Ecology

Jim Farrell and Campus Ecology

Professor Jim Farrell taught the famous Campus Ecology course. In his memory, the course materials are listed below as he organized them. Even though he cannot teach the course anymore, you can still read, thinking, play, and explore like we used to. Jim’s eulogy can be found here.

Books used:

Paul Gruchow, Grass Roots: The Universe of Home

Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope

Jim Farrell, The Nature of College

David Orr, Earth in Mind

Campus Ecology 2013


Good Conversations

Reflective Journals

Sample Journals

Plot Projects

Chapel Talk

Final Project Template

Mary Oliver, Some Questions You May Ask


February 8th Introductions: Wild and Precious Life

Introduction: Skills for a Living World

Poetry, Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

National Wildlife Federation – Campus Ecology

Defining Sustainability

Journal: Why are we here?

February 11th: This Place on Earth

Reading: Gruchow, “Home Is a Place in Time” and “Rosewood Township”

Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope, pp. 1-27

Mary Pipher, “In Praise of Hometowns”

Skill: Ecological Intelligence

Andi’s Plot Project

February 13 Plotting Our Place on Earth 

Paul Gruchow, “Naming What We Love” and “Snails Have Faces”

Reading: Annie Dillard, “Seeing”

David James Duncan, “Wonder”

Christopher Uhl, “Fifty Questions”

February 14th Valentine’s Day

Loving on Valentine’s Day

A Green Valentine’s Day

Feburary 15 St. Olaf and the Real World

Reading: David Orr, Earth in Mind, pp. 1-34

Farrell “The Real World”

Bill McKibben, “Introducation” to Sustainable Planet

Poetry: Laurence Overmire, “Real World”

Web Assignment: Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

February 18 Rethinking Education

Reading: David Orr, Earth in Mind, pp. 43-53, 60-69

St. Olaf 2000: Identity and Mission

Farrell, The Nature of College, ix-34

Elise Braaten (’04), “Questioning Education”

Journal: What’s your mission statement, and how does it fit (or not) with the college mission statement?

February 18 The Politics of Nature and Vice Versa (with David Bly)

7:00-8:30, Trollhaugen Room in Buntrock Commons

February 20 Educating for a Future Worth Living In/Living For

Reading: David Orr, Earth in Mind, 75-116

LivKarin Sulerud, “Sustainable St. Olaf”

Skill: Futures Thinking

Skill: Institutional Transformation

Poetry: William Stafford, “Allegiances” 

Journal: What’s your dream for the Earth (and the Earth’s people, including yourself)?

February 22 The Nature of Stuff

Reading: Annotations of our dorm rooms

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 35-50

Scott Russell Sanders, “Simplicity” in Hunting for Hope

Skill: Materials Awareness

Poetry: William Stafford, “You, Reading This, Be Ready”


February 25 The Nature of Clothes

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 51-66

Juliet Schor, “A New Fashion Ethic” (optional but excellent)

Skill: Finding Meaning Without Consuming

Fire Sale? Fire in Bangladesh

Walmart T-shirt flowchart

Poetry: Robert Pinsky, “The Shirt”

Sweatgear catalogue

Journal: If we are what we wear, what are we today?

February 27 Eating as an Agricultural Act

Reading: Barbara Kingsolver “Lily’s Chickens”

Wendell Berry, “The Pleasures of Eating”

Skill: Community Gardening

Poetry: Mary Oliver, “Rice” and “Oranges”

Pablo Neruda, “United Fruit Company”

Eating as a Traditional Act: Bread-Baking Lab

Wendell Berry, “At a Country Funeral”

Recipes for Social Change Cookbook

Recipe Template

Essay and Art Contest

March 1 Campus Ecology, Cafeteria Style

Cafeteria Tour with Peter Abrahamson: Meet at 10:15 in Crossroads lower level by the ATMs

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 67-92

Mark Bittman, “My Dream Food Label”

Bon Appetit, A Low-Carbon Diet

Howard Nemerov, “Grace Be Said at the Supermarket”

NASA time-lapse video of global warming


March 4 Food for Thought

Sandra Steingraber, “The Ecology of Pizza”

Paul Gruchow, “The Transfiguration of Bread” and “Guerilla Warfare to Revive the Countryside”

Michael Pollan, “Unhappy Meals”

Skill: Community Gardening

Mark Bittman, “Fixing Our Food Problem”

David Orr, Earth in Mind, pp. 117-121, 172-184

What is real food?


March 6 Changing the Climate (and the Climate of Opinion)

Paul Douglas, “Forecast 2035″

The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See

Jordan Smith, “Matthew 5:22″

Jon Foley TED talk, “The Other Inconvenient Truth”

Tom Williamson, “Global Warming, Global Warning”

Skill: Carbon Capability

Climate Change in the Obama Inaugural Address

Excerpt from “Chasing Ice”–largest glacier calving ever filmed

NASA interactive chart of global warming

March 8 The World(s) of Campus Ecology

Bill McKibben, “Curitiba”

 Skill: Commons Thinking

Megan Gregory, “Another World of Water”

Doonesbury, “Grameen Bank”

Poetry: Adrienne Rich, “Natural Resources”

March 11 The Nature of TV

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 119-38

The Simpsons on Climate Change

March 13 The Nature of Me(dia)

“What Is It about 20-Somethings?”

Sherry Turkle, “TED Talk on Alone Together” (16:24)

Eli Pariser, “TED Talk on Filter Bubbles”

David Freedman, “The Perfected Self”

John Blewitt, “New Media Literacy”

March 15 Parenting for Social Change

Sandra Steingraber, “Organic Mothering”

Rebecca Woolf, “Says the Hummer in the Land of the Hybrid”

Ruth Wilson, “My Child and the Environment”

Sandra Steingraber video, “Parenting and Chemicals and the Environment” (2:20)

Rebecca Woolf, “Sharing My Life Online”

Andi Gomoll, “Greening the Momosphere”

March 18 The Nature of Computing

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 138-55

How Green Is Your Internet?

Joe College’s Placebook Profile

Blank Placebook Profile (for me)

March 20 Making Ourselves at Home: Sustainable Residence Life

Eco-reps at U of Vermont

Central College, “The PODS”

March 22 Garbage In, Garbage Out

“Riches to Rags”

William McDonough, “A Boat for Thoreau”


March 23-April 1 Spring Break

Reading: Wendell Berry, “The Mad Farmer Manifesto”

Paul Gruchow, “Corn is not Eternal”

April 3 American (Environmental) Values

“Yearning for Balance”

New American Dream

Interview with Tim Kasser (The High Price of Materialism)

April 5 The Nature of Religion

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 199-222

Stephen Faris, “The Father, the Sun, and the Holy Spirit”

The Ten Commandments

Stephen Dunn, “At the Smithville Methodist Church”

e.e. cummings, “i thank you god”

Mary Oliver, “Some Questions You Might Ask”

April 8 Changing Our (Environmental) Values 

Rhode & Ross, “Changing Environmental Beliefs and Behavior”

“Fostering Sustainable Behavior”

Skill: Gaia Awareness

Poetry: Carl Dennis, “Our Generation”

April 10 Cars, Colleges and Contentment: The Moral Ecology of Cars

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 93-118

Gas Prices around the World

Poetry: Stephen Dunn, “The Sacred”

April 12 A Sustainable Future of Power 

Skill: Energy Literacy

“Riding the Wind: The St. Olaf Wind Turbine”

“Solar Rooftop Revolution” OR

Solar Revolution cartoon

Janet Sawin, “The Coming Energy Revolution”

“Ikea’s Solar Array Will Be Biggest in the State”


April 15 The Body and the Earth

Wendell Berry, “The Body and the Earth”

April xx Brilliant Readings on Work/Vocation That We Won’t Get To In Class

Scott Russell Sanders, “Skill” in Hunting for Hope

Reading: Scott Russell Sanders, “Faith and Work”

Paul Gruchow, “Putting Tomatoes By”

Van Jones Powershift video, “The Green Collar Economy”

April 17 The Nature of Play

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 157-76

Maren Gelle, “Facets of Fun”

Skill: Emotional Well-Being


April 19 The Moral Ecology of Everyday Life: Love and Sex in College

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 177-97

Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope pp. 42-95

Wendell Berry, “The Body and the Earth”

John Ryan, “The Condom,” in Seven Wonders of the World

April 22 Designing Minds: Harmonizing with Nature

Scott Russell Sanders, “Beauty” in Hunting for Hope

Mapping a Sustainable Society

Skill: Beauty as a Way of Knowing

John Tallmadge, “The Wild Within”


April 24 Designing Minds: Architecture as Pedagogy

McDonough & Braungart, “The Extravagant Gesture”

Skill: Systems Thinking

April 29 The Politics of College Students

Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 223-47

Derrick Jensen, “Forget Shorter Showers”

Paul Loeb “Against Apathy: Role Models for Engagement”

May 1 Getting Political, Getting Justice

Reading: David Orr, Earth in Mind, pp.70-73, 122-127

Michael Brower, “What you Can Ask Government to Do,” in Consumer’s Guide

Environmental Ideologies

Foundations of American Conservativism

Foundations of American Liberalism

Republican Environmentalism 2010

Paul Gruchow, “Steady Growth”

Poetry: Denise Levertov, “Beginners”

May 3 Environmental Politics and the Future

David Orr, “Loving Children: The Political Economy of Design,” in The Nature of Design

Gus Speth, “America the Possible”

Thomas Friedman, “The Market and Mother Nature”

How to Talk with People Who Disagree (Without Being Disagreeable)

Writing as a Political Act

Skill: Social Conscience

Poetry: Gary Snyder, “For the Children”

May 6 Loving Children Loving Nature

Betsy Taylor, “How Do We Get from Here to There?”

May 8 St. Olaf (Natural) Lands

Reading: Gruchow, Grassroots, pp. 77-82, 133-38

Poetry: Mary Oliver, “The Wild Geese”

May 10 The Nature of Business

Paul Hawken, “Natural Capitalism”

Ray Anderson, TED talk on business sustainability

100 Greenest Companies 2010

Fifty Ways to Green Your Business

May 13 St. Olaf and the New World

Reading: David Orr, “Refugees and Homecomers” and “A World That Takes Its Environment Seriously” in Earth in Mind

Cecile Andrews, “Structural Changes”

Betsy Taylor, “How Do We Get from Here to There?”

Poetry: Mary Oliver, “Going to Walden”

Scott Russell Sanders, “Wildness” in Hunting for Hope

Skill: Permaculture Design

David Orr, “Forests and Trees,” in Earth in Mind

May 15 Sustaining Sustainability: Grounds for Hope

Reading: Farrell, The Nature of College, pp. 249-61

Reading: Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope, pp. 170-91

Derrick Jensen, “Beyond Hope”

Jim Farrell, “Beyond Hopelessness”

Terry Tempest Williams, “Winter Solstice at the Moab Slough”

“The Graduation Pledge”

Poetry: Peter Maurin, “College Graduated”

Journal: What do you hope for? And how do you hope to make your hope more than wishful thinking?