Department of Community Sustainability
Director, Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment
Laurie Thorp is director of the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE). Thorp holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education from Texas A&M University. Her doctoral research took her to the Lansing School District where she studied the cultural and educational implications of a schoolyard garden. This study is the topic of her 2005 book, The Pull of the Earth by Altamira Press. She is a faculty member in the Department of Community Sustainability. Thorp was co-investigator on a $625K Department of Education grant to assess student learning of sustainability competencies through experiential education. She has served on the MSU Vice President for Finance and Operation’s Environmental Stewardship Systems Team as technical team leader for behavioral research associated with strategic change initiatives advancing campus sustainability. She is one of the founders of the MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) and serves on the SOF steering team. For the past four years she has been collaborating with colleagues in the departments of Animal Science, Philosophy, and Sociology to study sustainable pork production and student ethical development. Thorp’s work has been published in Qualitative Inquiry, Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Experiential Education, The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, and The Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research. Her greatest joy and passion is mentoring undergraduates in their journey of self-discovery to identify their life work.