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Field Studies for Sustainable Futures

July 22—August 4, 2018

Group photo of young women participating in Field Studies program, Smith College

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.

Curriculum

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.

Anne Wibiralske

Anne is the program administrator for the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Smith. She has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Grinnell College, a master of forest science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a Ph.D. in biogeochemistry from the Earth and Environmental Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing on her experience teaching undergraduate field-based environmental science and interdisciplinary problem-solving focused environmental studies courses, Anne brings her enthusiasm for field-based, experiential learning to the Field Studies for Sustainable Futures Program.


Program Schedule

Sunday, July 22, 2018
3-5 p.m. Registration  
5-6 p.m. Parent Q&A  
TBD Residential orientation  
Monday, July 23, 2018
9 a.m. Classes begin  
Saturday, August 4, 2018
9-11 a.m. Departure Each student's house

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
10 p.m. All participants must be in their room for the night
11 p.m. Lights out