Since I was five, I planned on becoming an obstetrician. I watched a lot of home movies and I wanted to bring life into the world. Now I'm not only bringing life into the world, but I'm learning how to save it.
In high school, I was heavily influenced by environmental sciences during 11th and 12th grade. I felt that living within this world, which is revolutionizing and changing daily, that I could possibly do my part if I knew more about the environment. One day a Champlain professor, who is now retired, came in to my class and talked about Champlain. I took the virtual tour and Champlain became my first choice. I enrolled into the Environmental Policy program.
In my classes, I've been looking at issues in the environment and the ethics and policies that surround them. In my Globalization class, we worked with a guy who came from the Congo and we're trying to make Champlain a conflict-free mineral campus. We've been talking to different people about how to start the discussion and spread awareness of how this genocide in the Congo is fueled by Americans buying technology with conflict minerals in them.
This fall I'm doing an off-site self-designed minor through Yestermorrow, a sustainable design/building program in Warren, VT. I'll get to learn woodworking, painting, and the final project is building a sustainable house. Nia, Environmental Policy* MajorSt. Thomas, US Virgin IslandsDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
*The name of this major will change to Environmental Studies & Policy in January 2017.
Tatum was drawn to Champlain's unique approach to environmental studies...I heard about Champlain by doing some research on programs relating to environmental studies. I was really drawn in by the program as it is the only one of its kind in the country. I was immediately excited about how the program dives into environmental issues from a policy standpoint and focuses on legislation, social justice and education. The program focuses on enacting positive change based on scientific facts. It's a perfect mixture of both getting out into the world and applying the data with policy in mind. On professors...My professors at Champlain are eager to see their students succeed. If I have a specific interest, my professors always help me find a way to incorporate it into my studies, as well as incorporating it into their lessons whenever possible. My professors always let me know about opportunities they think I would be interested in, like internships or events. I always feel cared about and valued by my professors here at Champlain. She loves sharing her passion for the environment...As an Eco-Rep on campus, I've had the opportunity to educate and plan events for my peers that are accessible to a broad range of people, which is a really cool way to discuss environmental issues. I have learned so much about peer education and sustainability. And appreciates the travel opportunities that she has had here...My favorite thing about Champlain so far is all of the opportunities that I've had, especially to travel. This past May, I went to Uganda on a service trip where we helped out at a local children's home. This spring I'll be travelling to Iceland as part of one of my courses. Tatum's classes have taught her more than just Environmental Policy...My classes here have improved my communication skills greatly through group work, meeting with professors and advocating for causes that are important to me. This also applies outside of the classroom, working with other people, which is an important part of networking. Her dream for the future...After graduation I want to join the Peace Corps. I hope to go back to Africa and work in a school teaching environmental or health education, specifically to women and girls.
Tatum, Environmental Policy majorDeerfield, NHDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
When I was younger, I wanted to work in an animal rehabilitation sanctuary. I thought that the hands-on work of helping another life would be the most gratifying career. I realized though that by working at the policy level, I could make changes to entire systems, helping significantly more lives, communities and environments.
Studying Environmental Policy has been a positive experience. Vermont, in general, is very environmentally focused, priding ourselves in being a "green state." Being small in terms of population, we have incredible access to our politicians, making it easier to help influence change.
My first internship, Vermont Caribbean Institute, made me realize I ideally want to work for a smaller, non-profit organization that focuses on international environmental and social issues. I've also interned with Fundacion Neotropica in Costa Rica, where I was able to work with farming and fishing communities in the most bio-diverse regions of the world, and I currently intern in Montpelier at Action Circles, where I spend a lot of time in the Statehouse. I've gained an amazing first-hand look into the inter-workings of our state government.
As for what comes next, I'm not sure what the future holds. My goal is to work in some of the most far off places of the planet, helping to improve the lives and communities of people in the developing world. Champlain has definitely set me up with a core skill-set to help me achieve this.
During Rebecca's senior year, she spearheaded a project through Sustain Champlain which resulted in the College receiving a Fair Trade College designation. Rebecca, Environmental Policy* MajorEast Hanover, NJDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
A big reason I chose Champlain was because of the Environmental Policy major. I wanted to study something that would give me the ability to help protect our environment and create some change.
Through classes I've taken, like Foundations of Ecology and Environmental Law, I've explored Vermont ecosystems and built a broad understanding of environmental problems and how to fix them. I've worked on a service-learning project in class that resulted in Champlain becoming a Fair Trade Campus and have also worked with the Lake Champlain Basin Program in creating an educational video about the Lake.
My junior year, I interned as a Field Organizing Intern with Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), an environmental nonprofit advocacy group. My internship has given me the ability to see how the passing of legislation actually happens and what work goes into lobbying legislators with public support. Because of this internship, I've gained a better understanding of environmental law, politics and environmental issues, and I worked on the campaign that helped pass the country's first GMO labeling bill in June 2013.
As graduation approaches, I feel confident that Champlain has taught me everything I need to know to enter the job market and, combined with my work experience, I feel I will find a job quickly. For the time being, I would like to continue working in environmental advocacy and possibly go into lobbying.
Victor, Environmental Policy* MajorHolmdel, NJDIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
I've changed my mind about what I wanted to do so many times, but I constantly found myself looking to the environment for ideas and guidance. I found that my passion was working to inspire and incite others to action by being a leader in the environmental field.
My time in the Environmental Policy major has been incredibly rewarding. It's one of those programs where you can feel the energy and excitement building in everyone in your classes and then you watch that energy translate into action. We participate in a lot of experiential learning outside the classroom so that we can better understand how ecological and natural systems work before we start talking policy.
I've had the opportunity to conduct an independent study in Champlain's apiary. Since I started working in the apiary, I've started studying beekeeping and apiary studies, and spend free time figuring out ways to make selling the honey we produce more fun and informative for potential buyers.
After graduation, I want to get a Master's degree in something like entomology or environmental education. I hope to combine my loves for education, change-making and beekeeping. By incorporating apiary studies into my curriculum, I want to teach students of all ages about practical, innovative solutions to the many problems that face future generations, giving students hands-on, experiential-style learning opportunities that are interesting, informative and rewarding.
Dylan, Environmental Policy* MajorTewksbury, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES
After taking an ecology and environmental science class in high school, I discovered my passion for the environment. Champlain's Environmental Policy program has been just what I needed: social, physical and political science all in one!
My environmental classes usually involve service learning projects or field studies that bring us outside of the classroom and into the community. The knowledge and wisdom I gained from my environmental classes greatly helped me in my job at Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) and during my internship with Champlain's Community Garden.
For my internship, I was the Garden Manager, and my responsibilities included holding community events; maintaining the garden, tools and shed; and being the go-to resource for members. My ecology, environmental issues and Core classes prepared me for this opportunity; I had some knowledge about working in nature and communications, but my classes encouraged me to be open to learning.
My time at Champlain has been transformational, as it has opened my eyes to what my true passions in life really are. After graduation, I want to work with food reform, so I think that the experience as a Garden Manager and with food growth is essential to my field. The paths in food reform are endless, from policy and nonprofit to farming, service and leadership opportunities.
Nicole, Environmental Policy* MajorTewksbury, MADIVISION OF EDUCATION & HUMAN STUDIES