Unity College

Unity, ME: This past September I visited Unity College in Maine. I stayed only a few hours but was able, in that time, to capture the enthusiasm of the students for the college and its countryside. This is definitely a college for outdoor, country-type people. The students at Unity seem really down-to-earth and natural.

Not too many kids know about Unity College perhaps because it only has 380 students and is twenty five years old this year. It is the only college in the United States whose liberal arts curriculum is focused on environmental studies. Natural resource management, wilderness-based outdoor recreation, aquaculture, environmental education, environmental policy, park management and land use planning are some of the degree programs offered at Unity. My brother is a sophomore in the aquaculture program but is also thinking about studying for a degree in fisheries.

Unity is in a small town, situated near Lake Winnecook. The college has a rural, 185-acre campus. More than half of the students live on campus in residence halls and cottages. Two residence halls are co-ed. There are the Activities Building (which has facilities for sports and lectures), a student center and a Learning Resource Center. Across the street is the library, used also by the town. Other buildings include a cafeteria and more classrooms. The Environmental Science Building is a large classroom building where most science classes are held. Often, however, these classes go into the field for research projects. Experiential learning requires students to take theoretical knowledge from classroom settings and find practical applications in the ecology of Maine.

Unity College has a great cooperative education program. Students are enriched with work experience related to their field of study. The cooperative education office helps students find jobs in many parts of the country. For example, last summer my brother was hired by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to manage the fish ladder at the Vernon Dam on the Connecticut River.This is a great job for a freshman in college.

Weekend activities include trips to Waterville and Bangor, camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing. Sugarloaf is within two hours of Unity. Occasionally there is a concert held on campus.

I think the most interesting aspect of Unity College is its commitment to students who care about our environment and the future of this earth. Their campus, close to both the mountains and the coast, make this experience a very natural one. n

Reviewed in 1990