At the Oregon Extension students live a simplified life in a rustic forest setting in which time, space, and the curriculum allow for deepening an intrinsic love of learning. For a fall semester they are exposed to agrarian and forest practices of sustainability, and encouraged to knit together their own, personal integrated vision of life.
The campus is in the middle of a wilderness. Students live in cabins that were built in 1929 to house the families of lumber mill workers. The classroom and library was once a general store in this small mountain town that now constitutes the OE campus. One has the sense here of stepping into a calmer zone in space and time. Courses are taught following the “block” method—one course at a time for 3½ weeks, with four blocks in the semester, earning 17 semester credits.
ents read a lot of books, and reflect on them in small groups meeting in professors' homes. Over the semester students work, progressively, with four large themes that make up our curriculum: Nature, Community, Sustainability, and the Human Condition. Each is approached in interdisciplinary ways, and credits can be earned in 13 different academic areas:
The campus is in the middle of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument of southern Oregon, set apart for its unique biodiversity.
The Sustainability component of the semester is incorporated into the students’ experience through electives in a lab science course in conservation biology, furniture making, nature writing, or social entrepreneurship, and daily agrarian hands-on experience (production and use of bio-fuels, hoop house gardening, poultry management for eggs and meat, goat husbandry, cheese making, and canning).
The OE is affiliated with Eastern Mennonite University.