The Masters of Architecture program is budding at Fairmont State University. I started my first class there yesterday, after a ten-year hiatus from higher education. (I was asked in admissions ‘Are you faculty or a student?’) I drove into town with the view of downtown Fairmont (above.) As I sat down in class and began to listen to the names- Bertrand Russell, E.F. Schumacher, Aldo Leopold, Barry Commoner and Wes Jackson, I realized that I’d been missing so much since leaving college.
The class is about Sustainability and in the end it will prepare us for the LEED exam. We began the class by discussing our connection to nature and how it relates to architecture. Students offered experiences of visiting Fallingwater, or reminisced about growing up with the forest. The focus of the Masters program is to create and promote Appalachia as sustainable place to live. The professor laid the foundation for the course by engaging the class to believe in what we were preserving. He held up books by Rachel Carson, Cradle to Cradle, and we discussed philosophy. I spent the night looking up the names we discussed, sharing the new experience with my husband, and then went to sleep looking forward to another day.