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The Nature of College: How a New Understanding of Campus Life Can Change the World

  • Date: Sunday, April 3, 2011
  • Time: 7:30 pm
  • Location: Valders 206

On his book, The Nature of college:
Stately oaks, ivy-covered walls, the opposite sex — these are the things that likely come to mind for most Americans when they think about the "nature" of college. But the real nature of college is hidden in plain sight: it's flowing out of the keg, it's woven into the mascots on our T-shirts. Engaging in a deep and richly entertaining study of "campus ecology," "The Nature of College" explores one day in the life of the average student, questioning what "natural" is and what "common sense" is really good for and weighing the collective impacts of the everyday. In the end, this fascinating, highly original book rediscovers and repurposes the great and timeless opportunity presented by college: to study the American way of life, and to develop a more sustainable, better way to live.


James Farrel was St. Olaf College's first Boldt Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities.  At St. Olaf, Farrell developed a campus ecology course that makes students the subject of their own environmental studies.  He also regularly speaks on campuses around the country about "greening" colleges.