Morven Summer Institute

Career Administrator

The Morven Summer Institute is an innovative summer program hosted at Morven Farm, an emerging landscape for interdisciplinary learning for the University of Virginia.  At the Morven Summer Institute, undergraduate and graduate students with interests in sustainability, design, food systems, and ecology have the opportunity to escape traditional confines of the classroom while working on projects with real-world applications.

Participants may select one 3-credit course from either (or both) of the 10-day summer blocks.

Block A - May 21 - June 1

GSVS 3559/ARCH 3500/5500 - Sustainable Communities, Phoebe Crisman

This course investigates the principles of sustainable community development—environmental quality, economic health, and social equity—as reflected in buildings, rural landscapes, towns, and cities. Through case studies, class activities and site visits, we will examine how communities impact and improve basic environmental-quality variables such as air and water quality, food supply, mobility, energy, and sense of place.

SYS 4502/STS 4500/GSGS 3559: Sustainability & Human Needs, Garrick Louis

What is a sustainable quality of life or standard of living? Is it at the current level of consumption in industrialized countries like the U.S., in emerging economies like China, or in lower-income countries like Kenya? How should governments balance the need to create national income and provide for the human needs of their citizens, against the desire to conserve natural resources and the environment for future generations? Will the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals foster sustainability for all? What are effective strategies for addressing urbanization and global food security in the context of climate change?  This course will take a systematic approach to addressing these questions. It will begin with a review of system analysis; then use these fundamentals to evaluate sustainability in the context of human needs. The course will examine the technology and policy approaches to satisfying these needs, including the externalities they incur and the tradeoffs involved between social benefit and environmental impact. We will analyze the roles of government, civic society, and industry in implementing sustainability at the national level. The course will examine case studies of innovative approaches to sustainability in high- and low-income countries.


 Block B - June 4-June 15

ARTH 3559/GSVS 3559 - East Asian Art, Landscape, and Ecology, Dorothy Wong

This course introduces the concepts on nature in East Asian traditions—Daoism, Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, their impacts on the relationship between human and their natural environment, and the art forms in which the theme of nature predominates, from landscape paintings to religious and garden architecture. It also explores how these ideas can contribute to the modern discourse on environmental ethics and sustainability.

PLAP 3160/GSVS 3160 - Politics of Food, Paul Freedman

How and what we eat is basic to who we are as individuals, as a culture, and as a polity. This course looks at the production and consumption of food in a political context. Food politics and policies have critical implications for the environment, for public health, for political equality, and for budget priorities. This course looks at food politics through a series of “food fights.” We will examine controversies over agricultural subsidies, labeling requirements, taxation, farming practices, food safety, advertising and education. In doing so, we will explore some of the most important features of American democracy, including legislative politics, regulation, interest group activity, federalism, public opinion, political communication, and representation. Ultimately we will examine the ways in which the politics of food represents both a reflection and a distortion of fundamental democratic principles.




Tuition (3 credits @ $377/credit): $1,131

Comprehensive Fee: $386

Morven Institute Fee: $450

Total: $1,967



Tuition (3 credits @ $422/credit): $1,266

Comprehensive Fee: $386

Morven Institute Fee: $450

Total: $2,102



Tuition (3 credits @ $1,347/credit): $4,041

Comprehensive Fee: $466

Morven Institute Fee: $450

Total: $4,957



Tuition (3 credits @ $856 credit): $2,568

Comprehensive Fee: $446

Morven Institute Fee: $450

Total: $3,464