Unity College

Unity College is a private, liberal arts college in Unity, Waldo County, Maine

Unity College is located 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Bangor, Maine and 25 miles (40 km) from the Maine coast. The college offers an undergraduate education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources throughout the academic program. In 2007 the school was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges. In 2010 it was named to the Princeton Review list of the eighteen leading “green” colleges, having received the highest possible rating. In 2010, Unity College was named to the top 30 of the Washington Monthly college rankings, and was one of eighteen U.S. colleges and universities named to The Princeton Review’s Green Rating Honor Roll. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching also selected Unity College for its 2010 Community Engagement Classification. The college has a long-lived reputation for providing recruits to federal and state conservation agencies, and, more recently, for placing students in graduate school for environmental science research.

The academic program comprises a broad environmental curriculum with 16 different majors and 6 minors. All of the degrees offered focus in environmental or natural resource studies. The college has a reputation for hands-on and outdoor study, and for providing students a gateway to outdoor careers. Alumni go on to careers in environmental policy, renewable energy management, biological research, state park & wildlife refuge management, natural sciences education, and wilderness recreation organization. Placements to graduate schools, particularly in environmental science research, policy, and law, have increased considerably in the last decade. Faculty credit this success to small class sizes and the very high likelihood that students will have participated in research teams, led by faculty, conducting various research projects, many of which are for the state or federal government. Current examples include examination of the effects of rockweed harvesting on the nearby Maine coast, a study of the spread of the hemlock wooly aldelgid, a major parasite on this important forest tree, a study of Maine lake sediments to help trace theYounger Dryas, and anemometric studies in support of community wind power development in the state of Maine.

The majors of study are: Adventure Based Environmental Education; Adventure Therapy; Art and Environment; Biology; Captive Wildlife Care and Education; Conservation Law Enforcement; Earth and Environmental Science; Environmental Policy, Law, and Society; Marine Biology; Parks and Forest Resources; Secondary Education; Sustainable Agriculture; Sustainable Energy Management; Wildlife Biology; and Wildlife and Fisheries Management.

The minor areas of study are: Applied Mathematics and Statistics; Botany; Ecology; Environmental Interpretation and Education; Psychology; and Zoology.

The college is a leader in the movement towards sustainability. The campus produces exceptionally low climate emissions of around 4,300 pounds per student per year, achieved through a program of energy audits and retrofits to buildings. All recent and new buildings are or will be low or zero carbon. The first of these is the so-called Unity House, designed and built by Bensonwood architects and timber frame builders of New Hampshire. All students take a required course in sustainability in their junior year, including several weeks on climate change. The college recently began to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability Design and Technology, and, in conjunction with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association, a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, Food and Sustainability, both begun Fall 2008.