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Field Studies for Sustainable Futures

July 21–August 3, 2019

Students outside in a field studies class

Join a small community of students interested in moving beyond “green” toward understanding what will be necessary to achieve a truly sustainable future. Learning and living together with a group of equally concerned and engaged people, you will explore how Smith College and our neighboring communities are practicing the ideals and principles of sustainability. We’ll talk about what is working, and what still needs to be done.

Accepting young women who will be entering grades 9, 10, 11, 12 in fall 2019.

Summer 2020 Information Coming Soon!

All content on the precollege websites is from our fantastic 2019 season. Stay tuned for updates!


Thinking and Acting Beyond “Green”

In this two-week interdisciplinary program, we will approach the issues of energy production, ecological design and sustainable food from multiple—and sometimes conflicting—points of view to expose and understand the complexities and potential impacts of tackling (or ignoring) the issues. Our exploration of these issues will be informed and guided by important work in the natural sciences and the humanities.

The program spans two weeks of investigation. Rather than offering distinct classes in a traditional classroom setting, we will head outside as a group, collaborating with and challenging one another as our understanding of sustainable practices grows.

We will visit buildings constructed to the highest environmental standards and discuss their merits and limitations. We will investigate the food we eat, how it impacts the land, and how it is grown, produced, transported and sold. We will explore how we generate energy from conventional power plants to renewable energy sources. Our discussions will consider the social and political values of ecological design.

Your adventure will offer many opportunities to connect with the New England landscape, including hikes at nature preserves, a zip line canopy tour and time to enjoy Smith’s Botanic Garden, campus arboretum, the Mill River and Paradise Pond.

Our Faculty

Ethan Myers

Ethan currently teaches humanities at The Hartsbrook School and works in the writing center at Amherst College. For 12 years he taught literature and composition at several colleges and universities in Massachusetts, including Smith College. He has also worked as a whitewater river guide and outdoor educator, and published in the fields of environmental policy and English. His ideal classroom is a river or a hiking trail, his ideal textbook the land itself.

Ethan earned a bachelor’s degree from Guilford College, where he studied geology and environmental studies, and a master’s in English and American studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. When he’s not in the classroom or reading student essays, Ethan is most likely wandering the forests of western Massachusetts with his family.

Field Studies Tuition:  $3,300

  • Tuition covers room, board and all academic costs, including books, classroom field trips, etc.
  • Tuition includes the nonrefundable deposit.

Program Schedule

Sunday, July 21, 2019
3-5 p.m. Registration
5-6 p.m. Parent Q&A
TBD Residential orientation
Monday, July 22, 2019
9 a.m. Classes begin
Saturday, August 3, 2019
9-11 a.m. Departure

A Typical Day

7-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9-11:45 a.m. Morning classes or an off-campus field trip
Noon-1 p.m. Lunch
1-4 p.m. Afternoon classes or an off-campus field trip
5:30-7 p.m. Dinner
7-10 p.m. Fun house activities that change daily
11 p.m. Quiet hours
Learn more about Life at Smith →