Earth Lodge

  • What is your vision for a better world?
  • How does social change happen?
  • What role can you play in creating positive change in the world?
  • How can we co-create the conditions for communities to thrive?

The Earth Lodge focuses on supporting and catalyzing student’s roles as active agents for cultivating a better world through an immersive and community-based exploration of sustainability, environmental justice, and social change. Earth Lodge will be exploring the questions listed above and will serve as a facilitated living and learning experience where students will take ownership and agency over the trajectory of the group, based off participants interests in sustainability, environmental studies, and social change. The Lodge is an intentional shared living experience that moves students beyond the limits of the traditional classroom to enhance learning and promote interdisciplinary engagement and discussion.

With a focus on sustainability and outdoor education, students in Earth Lodge will participate in a variety of experiential opportunities to expand their perspective and push them past their comfort zone. While there is no unit-bearing course associated with the Earth Lodge, residents can expect several programs throughout the academic year, both on and off-campus, and have opportunities that are only available to Lodge members. Lodgers may explore a variety of different programming options, which could include a Literature Circle, Experiential Overnight Trips, Outdoor Education, Community Engagement, and Self Reflection Design Exercises.  The opportunity to take a WELL 101: Perspectives on Environmentalism course in the Spring 2024 semester may be an additional way to engage with others in the community.

Weekly Gatherings

The Earth Lodge community members participate in a weekly student-led gathering. This has often been in the form of a Tuesday Tea night ritual. We encourage the Lodge members to gather to discuss important topics, plan additional trips and experiences, play music or create art, or just hang out and relax with the community.

Outdoor Experiential Education

Part of the experience of Earth Lodge is spending time off campus as a community and being engaged in nature. Lodgers will have opportunities to participate in outdoor adventure and nature activities near and far, as well as plan their own trips and programs. Past Lodge communities have rafted, tubed, and kayaked the James River, hiked and camped along the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park, and camped and sea-kayaked in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Community Engagement

A hallmark of the Earth Lodge has been Lodgers’ involvement in the Richmond region. Students have volunteered with, and completed projects for, the James River Park System and the James River Watershed Association. Lodgers can expect to work on a project with one or more of the University’s community partners related to the environment.

How to apply? 

  • Applicants must complete the Themed Community application and answer the specific Earth Lodge questions 
  • Applicants may need to be interviewed by the staff advisor