Sterling College


Sterling College is a small, private, fully accredited, liberal arts institution. Through our diverse environmental curriculum, students are immersed in a world where sustainability is a way of life, reducing carbon footprint a fundamental necessity and preserving our natural resources a moral obligation. The Sterling Experience combines hands-on practice with academic knowledge.

Sterling is proud of the tradition of work, learning, and service evident in our motto: “Working Hands – Working Minds”

At Sterling, all residential students work at least 80 hours each semester.

The Work-Learning-Service program allows all students to contribute to the day-to-day operation of the College. Sterling functions as a sustainable conscious community needing the cooperation and skills of everyone involved to prosper. In both supervised and supervisory roles, students learn valuable skills and practices applicable to their futures. While the Work-Learning-Service program is a “resume builder,” it also simply demonstrates on a daily basis what it takes and what it means to be a productive member of an active community.

Work-Learning-Service Jobs

  • Breakfast Prep Cook
  • Long Trail Crew Member
  • Catamount Trail Crew Member
  • Computer Support Technician
  • Craftsbury High School Mentor
  • Farm Resource Specialist
  • Community Service Coordinator
  • Green Bicycle Baron/Baroness
  • Greenhouse & Hoophouse Manager
  • Kitchen/Garden Liaison
  • Maple Sugaring Team
  • Mt. Mansfield Watershed Monitor
  • Plant Science Teaching
  • Assistant Public School Reading Tutor

As an environmental liberal arts college, Sterling College currently provides students opportunity to design majors in broad environmentally focused areas of study:

  • Conservation Ecology
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Outdoor Education and Leadership
  • Northern Studies
  • Natural History
  • Environmental Humanities.

During their tenure at Sterling, students can either choose a major such as Conservation Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture, or Outdoor Education and Leadership or they can work with an advisor to self-design a major that either cuts across or focuses within one of Sterling’s Areas of Study.

Service-learning has always been an integral aspect of the Sterling College experience.  Nutrition students prepare healthy snacks for local school students, Woodlot classes thin forest plots for landowners otherwise unable to manage their woodlands, Outdoor Education students lead ropes course activities for kids transitioning from elementary to middle school, and Ecology students investigate conditions in ice-covered lakes to support a growing local ice-fishing industry.  Extracurricular projects range from providing wood to those otherwise unable to heat their homes to sponsoring an Empty Bowls fundraiser in collaboration with the Vermont Foodbank.  Through all these experiences and more, Sterling students report they gain a healthy respect for service along with their passion for hard work. 

Mission statement
The Sterling College community combines structured academic study with experiential challenges and plain hard work to build responsible problem solvers who become stewards of the environment as they pursue productive lives.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Special Opportunities

Experiential Learning
Students are encouraged to pursue passions, design their own path, and achieve goals through hands-on fieldwork, intensive internships and involved community interaction.

Continuous Semesters
Sterling is one of very few colleges to operate on a year-round basis, offering full semesters in the Fall, Spring and Summer. In the continuous semester system, it’s possible to complete an undergraduate education in fewer than four years, saving tuition, fee increases, and time. Students may apply to begin their Sterling experience in any of the three semesters.

Independent Studies
Students can pursue specific interests through Independent Studies, which pair students with faculty advisors to create unique learning experiences.

Global Field Studies
Global field studies develop student perspectives of the world by exploring different cultures and landscapes, while focusing on issues of human ecology and environmental sustainability.

Sterling College
PO Box 72
Craftsbury Common , VT 05827

Awards and Recognition

Engaged Community Partner Award

Sustainability in Student Learning and Development

AEE Organizational member of the Year


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