It will be an immersive educational experience when a unique East Coast college brings its distinctive brand of higher education to a watery West Coast venue in April.

As part of its expanding national outreach, Unity College officials will visit alumni and prospective students in Tacoma to present an experiential overview of the growing college and its innovative curriculum based in sustainability science.

The program begins for alumni and friends at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma. The multimedia “Unity Vision” will be presented to prospective students, parents and guardians, teachers, alumni, and friends of Unity College at 7:30 p.m.

“Some might wonder why a school would hold a college event at an aquarium,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “Unity College students are different. Our students are concerned about the environment and they want an experience unlike anything else. We promise candidates that this event will be unlike anything else in their college search.”

The event is the latest in a multi-city outreach effort giving alumni, prospective students, and their families the latest information on the changing face of America’s Environmental College. The school also presented Unity Vision in Boulder, Colo., in November 2016, and in the Boston area in February.

Unity Vision is one piece of an innovative outreach program that has earned Unity College positive notice in The Wall Street Journal, University Business magazine, and several other trade and mass market publications.

Khoury said the college — which has set on-campus enrollment records each of the past three academic years — is taking an active approach to recruitment by sharing the Unity Vision.

“We’re coming to a state where people are concerned about the environment and to an environmentally immersive venue — no pun intended —  in order to give people a taste of America’s Environmental College,” Khoury said. “When people find out more about our unique Maine-based residential academic experience, and the value proposition that comes with immersive training in environmental sciences, they want to know more, especially in areas with similar, environmentally-based economies such as Washington state.

“Unity College offers people on all sides of the sustainability challenge the chance to get the tools they need for leadership in the environmental century,” he said. “So we are excited to bring one of the nation’s most innovative curricula in sustainability science to Tacoma in April.”

Khoury — featured in this video about how Unity College is changing the face of higher education — will greet prospective students, alumni and their guests, followed by a presentation on the student experience with Michael Latti ’17. Director of Admissions Joe Saltalamachia will be present to answer questions and help streamline the process for potential applicants.

Prospective students and alums who attend will be entered into a drawing to win two round-trip tickets from Tacoma to Portland, Maine, to visit Unity College. Up to three winners will be selected. For more information or to register, go to Reserve now. Space is limited.

At a time when many small private colleges are under-enrolled, Unity College welcomed 705 students at the start of this 2016-17 academic year, shattering its previous enrollment record of 638 students from Fall 2015 — a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase.

Unity College is known internationally for being the first U.S. college to divest from fossil fuels, helping build a movement valued at $5.2 trillion, as reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal in December.

Unity was also the first with a residence hall, known as TerraHaus, built to Passive House standards; and the first with a president’s home, known as Unity House, to be certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Unity College earned high rankings this year from the well-regarded college rating services U.S. News & World Report and Sierra Magazine. Meanwhile, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education ranked Unity College No. 1 in the nation for implementing sustainable financial and investment practices.

Khoury has led a multi-year campus buildout that included three fossil-fuel-free residence halls, opened in 2013, 2014, and 2016; a $1.1 million cafeteria expansion; and construction of a new academic building and student success center. Taken together, and with other improvements, more than $20 million has been invested in student-facing campus upgrades since 2012.

Khoury, who was named to the MaineBiz NEXT List as one of the 10 most influential people in the Maine economy for 2017, said the Unity Vision events in Boston, Boulder, Tacoma, and elsewhere are helping Unity College expand its presence nationally.

“The world needs more Unity graduates,” he said, “not fewer. We are answering that demand.”

Friday, March 10, 2017