Focusing mainly on environmental issues and sustainability, Northland College isn’t your average liberal arts school. Located in Ashland, Wisconsin, Northland College focuses on building a strong relationship with the environment. The school combines general education and multi-disciplinary studies so that students will use the tools they learn at Northland College and use them to “develop the habits of mind and heart required to negotiate these complexities with success.”
Northland College is focused on helping the environment; whether it’s constructing buildings that meet LEED certification or providing free-to-use bicycles for students and faculty.
Students can study a number of majors from meteorology, outdoor education, and environmental geosciences. They must also take general education courses in Natural, Growing, or Superior Connections that links students with the environment around them.
The North Wisconsin Academy was founded in 1892 and later became known as Northland College in 1906. Affiliated with the Congregational Church, the college wanted to emphasize Christian values, and to this day still does. According to their website, the college still holds ties with the Congregational Church (now the United Church of Christ), and according to their website, “cherishes its connection with the UCC and the value that the denomination places on free inquiry and recognition of each individual’s intrinsic worth.”
The students’ main focus on campus is the environment. Hosting an annual environmental conference, the school’s outreach program, Sigurd Olson Environment Institute educates the community about environmental issues in Wisconsin. Furthermore, the students run the Renewable Energy Fund which provides over $40,000 to sustainability projects. One of these projects is the campus-wide composting program which saves over 2 tons of food waste from the landfills every year.
Students can live in one of seven resident halls on campus, including the new resident facility, McLean Environmental Living and Learning Center. Students who live at McLean tend to the Northland campus’ greenhouse and monitor the energy system on campus. The resident hall offers numerous lounges, meeting places, as well as four kitchens for the students. Preference is given to students who want to explore alternative energy and limit waste production on campus. Other resident halls include Fenenga Hall, which is substance free, and Mead Hall, which is women’s only.
The school participates in Division II athletics and hosts teams; the LumberJacks and the LumberJills. They offer ten varsity sports such as volleyball, soccer, and hockey.
Northland’s motto is a “private education at a public school’s cost” and costing just under $40,000 a year to attend the college holds true to this motto. In 2011-2012, Northland College was able to give an average award of over $30,000 to each student. Nearly all students who apply for financial assistance receive some form of aid whether it’s through loans, grants, or scholarships. Upon graduating from Northland College, a student can expect to be nearly $28,000 in debt.