Pre-College Programs
Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: New Orleans & Louisiana Gulf Coast

Emergency Contact Information

Families may contact us at any time during the program in the event of an emergency. Students should enter these numbers into their phones prior to departure.

Lauren Watka – Program Manager, BELL: Hawai'i, Brown University
401-523-6218 (only active after April 16)

Brown University Department of Public Safety

Non-emergency assistance and information

For Accepted Students:
Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: New Orleans & Louisiana Gulf Coast

Congratulations on your acceptance!

We are looking forward to your participation in this unique and engaging program. We have compiled some important information for you; please review this carefully with your family and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Table of Contents

Forms to Complete

Once you've paid the deposit, don't forget to submit all required forms through your account.

This will include submitting waivers and immunization records.

*Forms will be available soon. You will receive an email once they are posted.

Travel Dates and Times

Saturday, April 11 - Saturday, April 18, 2015

Please do not purchase tickets until you receive program confirmation from us on or before Monday, February 9.

Arrive at New Orleans Airport (MSY) between 10am and 2pm* on April 11, 2015.
Depart from New Orleans Airport (MSY) between 10am and 1pm* on April 18, 2015.

*Please contact us at 401-863-7900 or before making a reservation if your flight is outside of these windows.

Once you have confirmed you flights, please fill out your itinerary on the Travel Itinerary Google Form.

Airport Pick-up and Drop-off

Brown University staff will meet you at the New Orleans Airport for transfer to our housing location with HandsOn New Orleans. Proceed to the end of the baggage claim area between Terminals C and D. There is a small waiting area where staff will be wearing “BROWN” t-shirts. Call Lauren Watka at 401-523-6218 if you need help. 

At the end of the program, we will transport the group back to the New Orleans airport. Students will be responsible for managing their flight departure but staff will be available to help in the case of flight delays or unexpected concerns.

If your flight is delayed

If you experience a delay while traveling to New Orleans, call or text Brown’s On-site Director, Lauren Watka, at 401-523-6218 with your new arrival time.

Before You Arrive

On-line Orientation

An online program orientation for you and a parent is scheduled for Monday, March 9 at 5pm EST and Thursday, March 12 at 8pm EST. We require you to attend one of the dates. If you are unable to attend either orientation, please email to reschedule with the Program Director.

To participate in this orientation, you will need access to a computer (no webcam necessary).

Additional information on how to access the conference will be emailed prior to March 18.

Pre-program required reading

1.) Have a look at these two pages from Louisiana's Office of the Governor - Coastal Activities. They provide an overview of some of the issues we'll be covering in the course.

2.) Watch these two short videos produced by the United States Geological Survey.  The first explores the multiple causes of wetland loss, and the second describes the extent of land loss since 1932.

3.) Write down three questions (based on the reading/videos or not) that you'd like to be able to answer by the end of the course. We’ll ask you to submit these on our first evening.


Please be very conservative in packing and bring only essentials. There is very limited luggage capacity in the program vans and the first location we are staying. Also, most airlines charge extra for luggage weighing over 50 lbs.

Average temperatures on the Gulf Coast in April range from a low of 55 to a high of 75 degrees. If you would like to check the weather before departure, please use these two program locations “New Orleans, LA” and “Cocodrie, LA.”

Required items

Recommended items

What not to bring

We recommend that students do not bring laptops, iPads, e-readers, or other valuable electronics. Students are prohibited from bringing illegal drugs, alcohol, and weapons of any sort, including pocket or swiss army knives.

Laundry Facilities

There are no laundry facilities at our program locations so students should bring enough clothing to last the week.

During the Program

Cell Phones

We recommend that students carry a cell phone that can be used during travel to/from Louisiana. Once the program begins, students must restrict any texting, internet, and/or phone usage to free time in the evenings. Limiting cell phone use helps us stay better tuned in to each other, to our natural surroundings, and to the new culture.

Spending Money

All your food and housing is covered in the program fee as well as entry fees to various sites. You will only need money while you are traveling to and from New Orleans and for purchasing souvenirs. Note:  Shopping time will be very limited as the focus of this trip is on Coastal Louisiana’s natural environment and traditional culture.

Fellow Students

There will be approximately 15-25 students from all over the U.S and the world in the program. Usually, there are slightly more girls than boys ranging from grades 10-12.


There is no homework in the traditional sense. For the most part students will be doing experiential learning together with some journal writing.

Health and Wellness

The Bell Gulf Coast program includes moderately physically challenging activities. We will spend a significant amount of time walking and on one day will do 2-3 hours of kayaking/canoeing. All students will wear life vests in any boating activity. 

Accommodations and Meals

While in New Orleans, we stay at HandsOn New Orleans, a full-service volunteer center in heart of New Orleans. The HandsOn Bunkhouse includes dormitory –style rooms with 5-9 other students of the same gender. Breakfast and lunch will be provided by the Bunkhouse and we will have dinners catered by local businesses.

We will spend the second half of the program at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) W.J. DeFelice Marine Center. Students will again be staying in dormitory-style rooms, separated by gender, with 3-5 other students. Students will have access to showers and toilets attached to their rooms and meals will be in the LUMCON cafeteria.

Dietary Restrictions and Medical Conditions

We will work with the staff at each location to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies if we are notified in advance. Students must communicate their allergies on the Medical Authorization Form. Dietary preferences, including vegetarians and vegans, should be indicated on the Guest Allergy Form.

If you student brings prescription medication, the On-Site Director or his/her designee will collect and stores all prescription medications on the first day of the program. Students must be responsible for requesting and taking prescribed dosage. Students with life-saving asthma and anaphylaxis medications (eg. epi-pens and inhalers) must keep them on their person at all times. All students who are taking prescription medications should bring prescribed medication in the original container, and a copy of their prescription and give it to the On-site Director. Having a copy of the original prescription will enable us to replace medication if needed.

Hospitals and First Aid

The BELL program is a physically active program involving significant time in the outdoors. For your safety and comfort during the program, we expect participants to fully disclose any and all pre-existing medical conditions in required medical forms.

In a medical emergency, you will be transported to the nearest hospital or clinic. We will always be within a 1-2 hour drive from a hospital. For minor problems, we have a well-equipped first aid kit and staff certified in first aid.