Brown Environmental Leadership Lab:
Rhode Island: Program Overview
Climate Change and Sustainable Development for High School Students
In a world constantly connected to iPhones, email, Twitter, and Facebook, students at BELL intentionally unplug for the better part of two weeks which allows us to more fully engage with our community and beautiful surroundings. Students hand in all electronic devices on the first day and cell phones are returned twice during the program to call home. By breaking our ties to these technologies, we are able to be more mindful of our natural environment, build more intentional friendships, and practice self-reflection.
Our curriculum includes a review of climate change science to ensure that students have a shared fundamental understanding before we challenge them to propose and evaluate solutions. It is not enough to merely understand the science; we must grasp the social ramifications of this global crisis.
In this course, students will:
Study Environmental Science
- Study the water quality and coastal resource management of Mt. Hope Bay
- Quantify the presence of invasive species in local forests
- Build and use solar ovens
- Use population models for cod fish to test the Tragedy of the Commons Theory
Explore Environmental Studies
- Explore entrepreneurship and local food movements by visiting a local sustainable farm
- Kayak on Mt. Hope Bay and identify coastal ecosystem services
- Construct the land use history of Haffenreffer by collecting field observations
- Simulate an environmental negotiation by role-playing various stakeholders
- Meet local environmental advocates who model inter-agency collaboration
Develop Leadership Skills
- Understand situational leadership and gain insight into your preferred leadership style
- Practice active listening, clear communication, and feedback skills
- Strengthen your ability to work effectively in a small group
- Enhance your group problem solving skills Learn about the Social Change Model of Leadership Development
Your Action Plan
We believe that it is not enough to understand complex social issues. Instead, effective leaders ask themselves, "What will we do with what we know? How will we serve others? How might we work for long-term social change?"
At BELL, we help our students define the issues that they are passionate about and construct an Action Plan to address them. We work with you to set realistic goals, identify mentors and resource people, and anticipate challenges.
We encourage you to think about some potential Action Plan topics before you come to BELL, but most students don't actually know what their Action Plan will be until they start working on it. Your instructors will help you design an Action Plan that fits your interests and skills.
Examples of BELL Student Action Plans:
- Received a grant to install solar panels on a High School
- Developed composting systems or recycling programs
- Constructed a wind turbine at school
- Eliminated Styrofoam in county buildings
- Published an educational article in an online teen magazine
- Coordinated an e-waste collection
- Implemented Meatless Mondays in a school cafeteria
Review students’ final reports on their plans in our digital Action Plan library.
Your program fee includes:
- Tuition fee for all courses
- All lodging as part of the course
- Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
- All transportation, field trips and site visits as described in the program description
- Transport to the Haffenreffer Estate from Brown University on arrival day
Your Program fee does not include:
- Transportation away from Haffenreffer on Closing Day
- Classroom materials (textbooks, notebooks, pens, etc…)
- Items of a personal nature
- Pre/post-program accommodations
- Air travel to/from Providence, RI