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Environment & Sustainability College

About the Environment & Sustainability Residential College (Greenhouse)

The Environment & Sustainability Residential College is a living-learning community that engages students in learning about many aspects of the local environment, all in the context of sustainability, by bringing together students and faculty interested in understanding and actively supporting the development of a healthy environment for all residents. Students will get to know Lexington from the bottom up to understand how the environment shapes the human community, and vice versa.

The Environment & Sustainability community encourages students to extend their classroom learning through community engagement with organizations committed to developing a sustainable Lexington. Join our tight-knit group with other like-minded students. You will spend time together in class, held in your residence hall, and in program-specific activities in the residence hall and on field trips. Check us out at


Student Profile

Greenhouse is open to all freshmen and to all majors.

Learning Outcome

Through participation in Greenhouse, a student will develop the following:

  • Learn about the local environment, which includes a community actively engaged in developing a sustainable city.
  • Network with faculty, staff, and community members who are working to create a more sustainable Lexington.
  • Have the opportunity to actualize their classroom learning through experiential programming, service learning and community interactions.
  • Network and establish relationships with students, professionals, and community leaders interested in sustainability at UK and in Lexington.


All students who participate in Greenhouse will reside in Woodland Glen II, a new residence hall located near the William T. Young Library.


Students must attend six co-curricular events offered by the program each semester, at least one of which must be an off-campus field trip. Such events will include:

Weekly chats where we explore environmental quality and/or sustainability through guest speakers (UK faculty with expertise in E&S subjects, local businesses, city government, and non-profit organizations).

Dinner discussion groups where various aspects of the Lexington environment and local sustainability efforts are discussed over dinner with faculty in a local restaurant.

Field trips to locations such as UK Organic Farm, McConnell Springs, UK Coal-fired plant and Delta Room (UK’s energy control room), inner-city nature preserve, community garden tour, tour of storm-drain art.

Walking tours where a faculty member takes small groups of students to various locations on campus and within.

Sustainability fairs based on themes such as food, energy, water, and urban design with local businesses and organizations describing their products and activities, and how you can get involved.

Connected Courses

Students in the Environment and Sustainability Residential College are required to enroll in one connected course each semester. In the fall semester, students enroll in Lexington: Connecting Environment and Sustainability.  This course that will introduce students to the city of Lexington and the UK campus literally from the ground up and will allow students to explore aspects of the environment and sustainability in Lexington, Kentucky, through lectures, field trips, guest speakers and community projects.
In the spring semester, students will focus on a variety of course offerings or field work that provide a more focused look at one aspect of Lexington’s environment, such as:

  • the growth and development of urban agriculture
  • the role of urban trees in supporting environmental quality
  • place-based environmental writing
  • reading the local environmental literature
  • linking environmental quality and socio-economic access
  • water quality and management
  • renewable energy in urban environments
  • Lexington's environmental achievements and remaining problems
  • how humans impact resources and how they function on the landscape