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AU at Airlie

Given as a gift by the Airlie Foundation in 2016, AU's goal is to incorporate our academic and sustainability initiatives with Airlie’s legacy.


The Airlie Center is a spectacular property set on more than 300 acres in Warrenton, VA, and is home to the historic Airlie House and a village of guest rooms and meeting facilities. For more than half a century, Airlie has welcomed global leaders, heads of state, and diplomats who have convened there for conferences and programs dedicated to social progress, education, environmental research, and public health. Most notable among the myriad ideas to emerge from Airlie was the concept of Earth Day in 1969, which now has become an annual international tradition.

Given as a gift by the Airlie Foundation in 2016, American University was entrusted with the stewardship of this special property. The university’s long-term goal is to carry on Airlie’s legacy and use the facility to its maximum advantage for AU’s academic and sustainability initiatives.

For more information about the Airlie facilities, its academic and sustainable uses, as well as other current and possible future uses, contact

Spring 2018 Pilot
Farm to Table
Tractors shoveling compost at Airlie

Visiting Airlie offers a wide range of cross-disciplinary, experiential learning opportunities. Instructors can bring the classroom to life through activities such as:

  • Organic gardening
  • Soil and water pesticide testing
  • Farming and livestock tours
  • Learning about food security and partnerships with local food banks
  • Managing land use and food processing
  • Beekeeping
  • Environmental filmmaking
  • Drone flying
  • Tree planting

If you would like to have your class visit Airlie for a day trip or immersive overnight experience, send an email to

A person working in a field at Airlie

The AU@Airlie pilot program brought the following professors and their classes to Airlie for a hands-on learning engagement in spring 2018:

  • SPA-340: Community-Based Research (Garrett Graddy-Lovelace and Jane Palmer)
  • SIS-350: International Food and Agriculture Politics (Garrett Graddy-Lovelace)
  • AU Scholars: Sustainable Farming Research (Jesse Meiller)
  • AU Scholars: Historical Documentary Production (Sarah Menke-Fish)
  • AU Honors: Food For Thought (Katie Holton and Larry Engel)

A full AU@Airlie programmatic launch is anticipated in fall 2018. If you would like to have your class visit Airlie for a day trip or immersive overnight experience, send an email to

Farm-to-Table Produce Delivered Directly to TDR Coming Fall 2018

Airlie potatoes (photo: Oakey Daskas)

Leveraging sustainable farming practices, like underground irrigation systems, solar and geothermal power, Airlie will begin delivering fresh, locally-grown produce to the Terrace Dining Hall.

Airlie Farm Facts:

  • 20 acres of farmland
  • 45,000 pounds of vegetables, including:
    • 2,100 pounds of pumpkins
    • 8,700 pounds of potatoes

Drone View of Airlie

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Aerial views of some of the farm fields at Airlie.

Improving understanding of food security

An AU Student Reflects on the AU@Airlie Experience

Sharing this experience has started a lot of conversations around food security

"Before this trip, I had no idea that AU was affiliated with this farm. Knowing this connection has helped me understand how local farms are contributing to the food security issue in their respective towns. I have found that sharing this experience with students not in the class has started a lot of conversations around food security/access. Furthermore, it is good to know what AU is doing outside of just the academic environment!"

Airlie in 360°


A look at some of the sustainability initiatives at Airlie, with 360° views.