About NaropaPurpose, Vision, Mission, and ValuesSustainabilityAcademics & Sustainability Education

Academics & Sustainability Education

“Inspired by the UN Brundtland Report’s definition of sustainable development, we define sustainability in education as education for a lifestyle that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations of all species to meet their needs. (In this, we note the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘desires.’)

In accordance with the Naropa University Mission Statement, using contemplative, intellectual, and practical methods, faculty help students gain the necessary inner and outer tools and perspectives to engage courageously and compassionately with a complex and changing world. We aspire to teach students across all disciplines to engender a restorative, regenerative, and healthy approach to relationships between humans and the rest of the living, natural world. Our ultimate goal is the co-creation of a just, sacred, and sustainable society.” — Naropa University Faculty Teaching and Learning Commitment

Naropa University is committed to developing sustainability not only in terms of a greener campus, but also in our teaching and learning. The faculty of Naropa University aspires to lead in sustainability education as a key element of training future generations. Our vision is to define sustainability in a contemplative context, including both its inner and outer aspects. In alignment with Naropa University’s agreement to participate in the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, we recognize the vital need to think about sustainability in a systemic way. Joining with other eco-visionary institutions, we seek to continuously educate ourselves and update our understanding of best practices in sustainability.

Core Curriculum

To further align our curricula with Naropa’s Institutional Gateways, in Fall 2019 we will offer our first BA Core Sustainability seminar, Regenerative Community in Action.

During fall 2012 semester, Naropa’s faculty senate, Cauldron, approved the inclusion of sustainability in Naropa’s curricular arc. The outcomes are as follows:

Skillfulness in Addressing Diversity and Ecological Sustainability

Graduates are able to think critically and analytically about social and cultural diversity; they recognize the interconnectedness of the human community to ecological sustainability and cultivate sustainable practices.

Ecological Relationships and Sustainability Awareness

  • Introductory: Students demonstrate an understanding of principles of ecological interrelationships, including living systems, complexity and interdependence. They appreciate the need to live with awareness and respect for one’s self, the earth and its inhabitants, human and nonhuman. Students understand the dynamics and significance of the ecological crisis and what is meant by different kinds of sustainability.

  • Intermediate: Students express connections between their academic work and personal, global, and local sustainability. They understand sustainability as an expression of appreciation for the sacredness of the earth and contemplative principles in action.

  • Capstone: Students integrate and apply a high level of understanding of different kinds of sustainability into their academic work, creative expression and community service.

Diversity and Systems of Privilege and Oppression

  • Introductory: Students express personal beliefs and assumptions and explain systems of privilege and oppression at the local, national and global levels. They interpret the intersectionality of identifiers such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, and socioeconomic class and how they shape individual and collective identities.


  • Intermediate: Students exhibit the ability to hear, connect, empathize with, and engage the different voices and stories that shape diverse human’s experiences.. Students investigate the intersectionality of diversity, ecological sustainability, academic endeavor and participatory solutions within their major and intended vocation. Students raise questions about inclusiveness, privilege and oppression in their academic work.


  • Capstone: Students  extend their academic inquiry to hear, connect, empathize with and engage the diverse voices and stories that shape experience. Students incorporate an understanding of the impact of privilege and oppression in their academic work. They further evaluate their own assumptions and the assumptions of their field in light of these concerns. Students appreciate the role of diversity in their academic and creative process.

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.