What can we learn from past and current cultures about how to best live on this planet? How have people throughout time met their basic needs, and what systems appear to produce both psychological health and community wellness? What are your own goals for positive mental health and sustainable living today?
This first-year program will provide an in-depth exploration of introductory psychology and anthropology, in the context of personal and communal wellness and sustainability. From foraging cultures of the past, to off-the-grid communities or urban neighborhoods of today, we will explore psychological theories and cross-cultural approaches to life that demonstrate personal and collective engagement with our environment, and its limited resources, while maintaining thriving, healthy communities. Students will build vocabularies, analyses, and hands-on skills in the fields of psychology, anthropology and sustainability.
Following the theme of “living well,” the program will also look at how to apply psychology to the student's personal development. We will explore techniques of positive psychology that relate not only to "happiness" but also to "life satisfaction," and how these are shaped by culture and environment.
Project work will include designing sustainable communities in teams to understand how psychological, economic, and environmental health are intertwined. Weekly writing workshops will support this project work. The program will also include local field trips where students can interact with people building intentional, sustainable communities. We hope to travel to Port Townsend, for example, to visit the Port Townsend Ecovillage. Local field trips may include Fertile Ground, an urban sustainable demonstration site, or co-housing experiments such as the Woodard Lane Co-housing community, or other examples of intentional communities.
Additionally, a community partnership with the Thurston County Food Bank will enable us to connect with local initiatives, apply our knowledge, and offer something to the community. We will spend some portion of each week helping to garden or process food for the local Food Bank.
Course Reference Numbers
community development, sustainability, and anthropology
$200 for entrance fees, supplies, and overnight field trip.