The Nature of College by James Farrell

The Book

The Nature of College: Campus Culture, Consumer Culture and the Environment examines the moral ecology of everyday life on college campuses, exploring why college students act the way they do, and why it matters.

Even though they think they’re charting their own way in the independence of college culture, students are still subject to American culture’s powerful influences, including its consumerism and its consumer forgetfulness.

And all of the elements of college culture—classes and labs, cars and clothes and the cafeteria, bathrooms and dorm rooms, TVs and computers, cell phones and iPods, beer and sex and parties, politics and religion—are shaped by the environmental values of American culture, and shape the environmental beliefs and behavior of college students.

In The Nature of College, readers wake up with Joe and Jo College, check out their rooms and closets, get ready for school, eat in the cafeteria, watch TV and check Facebook, hang out and hook up, go to a party, and debate religion and politics.

We consider both their expressed values (the ones they say) and their operative values (the ones they do), as we look at the moral choices of their lives.  Looking at all of these facets of “the good life” of college, we wonder whether the good life might be better, both for people and the planet.  And we show, in each chapter, the ways in which mindfulness coupled with practical idealism can make a real difference in the environmental history of a blue-green planet.