Self-Reliance Solar Decathlon house.
Self-Reliance Solar Decathlon house

Self-Reliance and InSite offer students a residential experience with opportunities to share their knowledge about sustainable living with the greater Middlebury community. 

Leadership and scholarship are central to the mission. Students will demonstrate both leadership and academic interest in Architectural and Environmental Sustainability and the energy issues faced both on campus and abroad. Additionally, residents will have the opportunity to learn about the mechanical workings of Self-Reliance and InSite.


Diversity in academic majors, interests, and backgrounds helped contribute to Solar Decathlon 2011 and 2013’s great success and is essential in its legacy. Students who have demonstrated leadership and academic interest in architectural, agricultural, engineering, or sustainability issues are highly encouraged to apply.

Residents will continue the outreach component of the 2011 and 2013 projects for future students and the Middlebury community at large. These students are interested in environmental and sustainability issues. They are energetic, outgoing, and interested in hosting outreach activities in the home. This may include cooking locally sourced meals, hosting green-building workshops, inviting architecture classes to visit, and much more. Priority is given to Juniors and Seniors, but Sophomores with a strong academic interest are welcome to apply. 

Duration of Stay

  • Academic year (Fall, January and Spring semesters)
  • InSite has beds for two residents. Residents must apply to stay in the house for the entire academic year with no substitutions.
  • Self Reliance has beds for three residents. Applicants may propose a group of four with one substitution under the following circumstances:
    • Two of the four students must reside in Self Reliance for the entire academic year
    • The other two students can alternate residency: one will live in the house for fall and January semesters and the other for the spring semester (or one for fall and the other for January and spring)
    • All four students must be identified in advance and must apply together. The application must include which semesters each resident plans to live in Self Reliance.

Outreach Plan and Expectation

Self-Reliance and InSite each have an operating budget of $1,100 per year, or $550 per semester that they are expected to use for outreach purposes.

Baseline Requirements

  • Work with Alumni & Parent Programs to schedule open houses during Homecoming and Fall Family Weekend
  • Host at least two outreach events per semester
  • In conjunction with Academic Affairs, manage email account and be receptive to arranging ad hoc tours and opportunities for academic observation and exploration
  • Environmental Affairs can advise on planning and budget management. Let them know when events are happening.
  • Document events with photographs

Apply to Live in Self-Reliance or InSite

Live in a Solar Decathlon house! Each year, groups of 2 students (InSite) or 3 students (Self-Reliance) live in the Solar Decathlon houses, learn about sustainable living, and share their knowledge with the greater Middlebury community. Leadership, scholarship, and outreach are central to the mission. 

For Self Reliance only, one of the three residents may live in the house for one semester rather than the whole year IF the two other residents will be living in the house for the whole year AND you apply with a fourth student to fill the space.

Residents will have the opportunity to learn about the mechanical workings of Self-Reliance and InSite. They will be responsible for responding to inquiries to

Questions? Email

Application Deadlines

  • Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year have closed. Academic year 2025-2026 applications will open next January 2025, so check back then!