A Safe, Supportive Environment for Students to Learn and Grow
Nestled in the heartland of America, the city of Fairfield boasts accolades often seen only in large cosmopolitan areas, while at the same time providing the safe, wholesome community you expect from a Midwestern town. The community’s achievements have garnered national acclaim in art, entrepreneurship, environmental projects, and more. The Des Moines Register recently described Fairfield in an article about its community. "Fairfield is a town of contrasts, where you can see a BMW parked on the street next to a pickup truck. The native population has increasingly accepted immigrants who brought a different culture and an entrepreneurial spirit that invigorates the city’s economy. Fairfield has earned a long list of plaudits in numerous 'best of' categories, including the April Smithsonian magazine’s list of 'The 20 Best Small Towns in America.'"
The city showcases over 25 galleries and art venues and more than 300 artists, musicians, actors, writers, poets and dancers. With more restaurants per capita than San Francisco, Fairfield’s 40 cafes and eateries offer cuisine from over ten nationalities.
In the heart of downtown, one of the most comprehensive arts and convention centers in the state features a 520-seat proscenium theatre. This state-of-the-art facility brings internationally acclaimed entertainers in music, comedy, theater, dance and more to town and also hosts performances from Fairfield’s own “Way Off Broadway,” the only professional musical theater company in Iowa.
Other performing arts programs include an annual Best of Iowa Film Expo, hosted by Fairfield’s Art Walk. The Art Walk itself, a monthly community-wide event featuring visual arts, music, entertainment, and great food, received Iowa’s 2008 Tourism and the Arts Award and was recently named Iowa Tourism Event of the Year.
Culture is also rich within Fairfield. Maharishi University of Management has students from over 70 countries, and Maharishi School’s families come from more than 35 countries around the world. International students celebrate their own cultures in Fairfield and quickly feel at home in the friendly environment of this warm, supportive community.
Fairfield offers students and community members many opportunities for recreation, including a 33-mile trail system perfect for walking, jogging, biking, and cross-country skiing in the winter. The network connects lakes, prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and a state preserve. In addition, 10 beautiful parks offer facilities including a fresh-water swimming lake with a sandy beach, playgrounds, shelters, picnic areas, and more.
Fairfield has received many commendations in the field of business. In 2003 the town was named "The Most Entrepreneurial Community in America (10,000 population and under)" by the National Association of Small Communities, and in 2004 was declared "Iowa's Most Entrepreneurial Community." Fairfield also received the inaugural Grassroots Entrepreneurship Award from the National Center for Small Communities in Washington, D.C. Local entrepreneurs have been featured among "Top Small Company Workplaces" in Inc. Magazine, and received “Entrepreneur of the Month” awards from the Midwest division of the nationwide CDI network. Fairfield is also home to the world’s premier Ayurvedic health spa, The Raj.
The city boasts 150 non-profits and over 400 start-up companies. More than $200 million in venture capital has been invested in Fairfield companies, an unusual sum for a town with a population just under 10,000. Fairfield has also hosted six National Entrepreneurial Gatherings, and according to the International Economic Development Council, entrepreneurs in Fairfield have pioneered “incubator-development systems that communities around the country have started to replicate.”
Many of Fairfield’s successful companies tote unusually sophisticated environmental practices. For example, the local radio station, KRUU-FM is believed to be the only station in the country to use solar energy to power both its broadcast booth and signal.
Fairfield is also home to one of America’s largest concentrations of solar homes. For example, the town’s Abundance EcoVillage is completely solar and wind powered, and has homes using only 1/3 to 1/4 the energy of conventional homes.
The local university, Maharishi University of Management, is in the process of constructing a sustainable living center described by The Associated Press as “the ultimate green building” in an article carried by Forbes, BusinessWeek, MSNBC, and other national media.
With these developments in the field of sustainability alongside Fairfield’s “Go Green” initiative, it comes as little surprise that Fairfield’s mayor, Ed Malloy, is listed alongside big-city counterparts New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom among the 15 greenest mayors in the United States compiled by Grist, a Seattle-based online provider of environmental news.
Fairfield has attracted not only repeated visits from stars ranging from filmmaker David Lynch, actors Russell Brand and Stephen Collins to musicians like Moby, The Beach Boys, Donovan, and James McCartney, but have also drawn in presidential candidates.
When Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses in 2008, the New York Times front-page story featured Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and highlighted the president’s repeated visits to the city to garner support.
With its diverse and progressive community, booming business market, cutting edge environmental projects, and—in the words of the International Economic Development Journal--an “arts community as robust as cities 100 times its size,” it’s little wonder Fairfield has appeared among “Iowa's Great Places” and been declared one of “Twelve Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of” by Mother Earth News.