October Enewsletter: Summer Classes on the Coast

Summer Classes on the Coast

By Dana Price ‘16

In July, I had the opportunity to study Sustainable Development in a program called Brown Environmental Leadership Lab at Haffenreffer Estate, a beautiful lakeside museum owned by Brown University alongside Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. As one of many pre-college leadership programs held by the university, my twenty classmates from all over the U.S., China, Hong Kong, and Italy were challenged every day for two weeks to find solutions to environmental issues all over the world. Within the span of our session we built solar-powered ovens, conquered an obstacle course that could only be completed using teamwork, visited the meeting-place of Native American leader Metacom and his advisors, debated (while role-playing as huge corporations and city councils involved in agricultural communities) the use of pesticides and genetically modified soybeans in agriculture, toured a local and chemical-free farm, harvested quahogs with a professional quahogger (Rhode Island’s version of a clam) and developed our own “action plans” describing how we would utilize this new education, when all was said and done at Brown, in our home towns. However, not every minute of every day was spent cramming our heads with textbook information. We slept in canvas tents underneath a beautiful blanket of trees. We picked wild raspberries, had ukulele jam-sessions, and took daily walks along the rocky beaches. We interacted with the bio-luminescent jellyfish and fireflies, went swimming in the beautiful Bristol Beach, inspired each other with Dr. Seuss Story Time, and (less glamorously) shared meals and chores every day. We even had a talent show in which I sang a Jason Mraz song with two new friends from Milan, Italy and New York City.

Today, months after everyone packed up their sleeping bags and flew back home, I still talk daily to all my classmates and mentors from the program. And not a day goes by without me thinking of more and more ways to achieve my action plan to help the earth and the people living in our community. As the newly elected president of Green Team, I hope I am making my classmates and teachers at both OLP and Brown proud, and I know that, together, we can all create a more sustainable campus life.