Burlington is packed with places that can enrich the education of Champlain College students of all majors. From on-campus resources to off-campus hangout spots, many of the Queen City’s greatest offerings seem custom-made for students.

Of course, students of every major have their favorite places, and those in the Environmental Studies & Policy program have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to enhancing their classroom experiences. Here are just five of the best places for Environmental Studies & Policy majors in Burlington: 

The Apiary

Established in the spring of 2013, Champlain College’s Apiary provides experiential learning opportunities for students, but also supports the college’s commitment to sustainability. Students can learn about bees’ role in the ecosystem in a hands-on way. Plus, the profits from the honey produced by the hives are used to sustain the program. 

Gabe Ingman ‘19 loved learning about the Apiary’s “three individual hives, all with their own queens. Each of the hives have personalities, and you can see it when they interact with new people, and even in how they build their honeycombs. We harvested honey with Professor Kristin Wolf and learned how to facilitate the management of an apiary.”

Dr. Kristin Wolf poses with bees in Champlain College's Apiary.
Dr. Kristin Wolf, an expert on environmental ethics, science and society, and globalization, runs the Apiary at Champlain College.

The Center for Mediation & Dialogue

One of Champlain College’s nine Centers of Experience, the Center for Mediation & Dialogue provides students with real-world experience in conflict management. The Center’s educational programs include those on basic mediation, divorce mediation, parent coordination, and professional and personal negotiation.

According to Dr. Laurie Quinn, Interim President when the Center for Mediation & Dialogue first began its mission in 2019, the Center is a great resource for all Champlain College students. “At Champlain, we prepare learners of all ages to collaborate and make a difference across professions and communities everywhere,” she explains. She believes the new Center of Experience will “help further our positive impact, and we look forward to helping more people gain the consensus-building skills they need to lead change on important issues.” 

For Environmental Studies & Policy students, the Center for Mediation and Dialogue is the perfect environment in which to learn the skills that will help them write and defend fair policies for the future. 

Dr. Julian Portilla, Director of Champlain's Center for Mediation & Dialogue, mediates a dispute between farmers displaced by an industrial plant built by the Haitian government after the 2010 earthquake.
Dr. Julian Portilla, Director of Champlain’s Center for Mediation & Dialogue, mediates a dispute between farmers displaced by an industrial plant built by the Haitian government after the 2010 earthquake.

Office of International Education

The opportunity to study abroad draws many students to Champlain’s unique programming, and the Office of International Education (OIE) is where the magic happens for those who wish to integrate travel into their curriculum. The OIE helps to prepare students for study abroad by integrating international education into all aspects of the student experience from their first semester. 

Students can also benefit from the OIE’s Passport Program, which awards a passport fee reimbursement to rising sophomores who complete their first year at Champlain with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

Sarah Cipollini, ’20 // Environmental Studies & Policy, studied abroad in Auckland, New Zealand with help from the OIE. She says that, “Champlain’s Office of International Education makes it possible for so many students to check off bucket-list travel experiences, and I’m incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to work for the Study Abroad team, as well as for the life-changing experience of living and studying in Auckland, New Zealand for six months with their support. Champlain College wouldn’t be the same without the OIE, and I urge everyone to stop by to connect with the staff and resources available there.” 

Student poses with a camera at Trinity University's library while studying abroad in Dublin.
Thanks to the Office of International Education and Champlain’s two international campuses (in Dublin, Ireland, and Montreal Canada), students can choose to study abroad nearly anywhere in the world. Here, a Champlain student explores Trinity University’s world-renowned library while studying abroad in Dublin.

Center for Service & Sustainability

An on-campus resource dedicated to addressing social justice issues and environmental stewardship in the local and global communities, the Center for Service and Sustainability gives students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to serve others.

Ariel Simpson ’21 // Environmental Studies & Policy, has worked for the Center for Service and Sustainability on and off since her first year at Champlain.

“Because the center is connected to Champlain, it has given me a chance to further my education on environmental issues, while learning a new set of skills around planning and organizing both on and off campus,” says Simpson.

“Dr. Christina Erickson, Director of Service & Sustainability Learning, is an invaluable member of Champlain’s campus and I have been able to build a really great working relationship with her, which has taught me what a good worker-boss relationship can look like,” Simpson continues. “My time with the Center for Service & Sustainability has given me a glimpse into the working world with the cushion of an understanding supervisor and a great team of student workers by my side.” 

The Eco-Reps Program, Sustain Champlain, and the Green Revolving Fund will be of special interest to Environmental Studies and Policy students.

Students from the Center for Service & Sustainability pose in front of a truck after harvesting kale.
The Center for Service & Sustainability recently spent a chilly, but great day gleaning more than 150 pounds of kale with friends from the Intervale Center at Jericho Settlers Farm.

The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

A short walk down the hill from Champlain’s campus, the ECHO Leahy Center sits right on the edge of Lake Champlain. Burlington’s premiere science and nature museum, ECHO educates the public about marine life and the issues it faces. Environmental Studies & Policy students can get up close and personal with Lake Champlain’s aquatic life, inspiring them to continue to fight to protect the environment. 

Holly Francis ’20 // Environmental Studies & Policy, worked as the Public Programs & Education Intern at ECHO, and she says her experience tied nicely into her classroom education. “I taught children and families STEM concepts at the Center and at schools around Vermont. Most of my classes at Champlain were discussion-based, so I learned not to shy away from a debate and grow as a public speaker,” she explains. 

A Champlain student interns and teaches visitors about Lake Champlain aquatic life at The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.
A Champlain student interns and teaches visitors about Lake Champlain aquatic life at The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.

No matter your major, Champlain College’s campus and the city of Burlington have something fun and informative to offer!

Interested in studying Environmental Studies & Policy? Find out more about the program here.

Alexa O'Kane
Alexa O'Kane
Class of 2021
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