Summer 2018 Applications Accepted Starting October 1st Notify Me

How do we design the city of the future?
Days: 14 • Group Size: 20 - 25 • Ages: 15 - 18
June 24 - July 7 Available
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Brooklyn: City of the Future

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Environmental Leadership Academy

Sustainable Summer’s Environmental Leadership Academy in Brooklyn, New York enables the next generation of environmental leaders to engage in sustainability inquiry and action.

In this Summer Program in Brooklyn, New York…

  • You’ll tackle challenging academic concepts in a college-level sustainability course and develop your communication, critical thinking, and action planning skills in our leadership institute
  • You’ll participate in site visits to sustainable businesses and renewable energy projects, and enjoy guest lectures from leading sustainability experts
  • You’ll live in a residence hall in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood with other environmentally-minded high school students
  • You’ll experience Brooklyn’s world class arts and culture in one of the cities most picturesque and vibrant neighborhoods

Brooklyn has rapidly evolved from a geographic place name into an international brand, commonly appended to food stuffs and other artisanal items intended to invoke a sense of hip and cool. Less noteworthy amid the hype is Brooklyn’s role as an incubator of countless urban sustainability innovations. Brooklyn also happens to be our home, and we want to take students beyond the trendy and into an exploration of the City of the Future with Brooklyn and NYC as our classroom.

Through a series of workshops and guest speakers, participants will learn about urban farming, design processes, computational modeling and other topics. We’ll visit and learn from rooftop farmers, biotech engineers, green architects, and other innovative companies, as well as city planners, transportation experts, and policy analysts. Contact us to find out more.

 

Live

in a college residence hall in the beautiful and trendy Clinton Hill neighborhood

Study

sustainable design and urban planning

Experience

Brooklyn's world renowned arts and culture

2017 Program Staff *


Josh Frye Photo

Joshua Frye

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Jeff Sharpe Photo

Jeff Sharpe

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Holli Watne

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Christina Cox

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Environmental Leadership Academy Program Updates

Brooklyn Testimonials

I believe that Sage had her most memorable summer yet. Both programs seemed to draw remarkably intelligent and nice kids. Sage seems to have been exposed to so many new perspectives and has developed a zest for wanting to make positive change. Suddenly she is seemingly well versed and has reasoned opinions about issues she […]

  Nancy,  parent from Rumsen, NJ

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Core Curriculum & Program Components

Much More Than A Pre-College Program

A world-class city? Check. Unique and interactive experiences? Absolutely. A smart, down-to-earth group of like-minded teens? Yup. Summer in Brooklyn is just the start. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders through dynamic place-based learning.
 
Urban Sustainability
How do we design the city of the future? This essential question guides our experience studying sustainability at . Participants – through discussions, workshops, site visits, and fieldwork – will investigate sustainability with the understanding that truly sustainable solutions take into account not only the environment, but also the people, culture and economy of a given place.
Leadership Activities
Our approach to leadership development is adapted from the Stanford Graduate School of Education’s youth leadership curriculum.
Design Thinking Challenge
Participate in a 12-hour design thinking workshop (over several days), including a real innovation challenge applied to 's campus community. Design thinking is a formal process innovators use to create solutions to problems. We'll learn about human-centered design, and then engage members of the campus community to conceive a project that is usable, sustainable, and lead to better outcomes within the community.
Independent Project
Learning happens best through a constructivist approach of inquiry, action, and reflection. Students should be prepared to engage in an independent project for the duration of the program that takes an in-depth look at a sustainability issue and advocates a position. The project deliverable can be either journalistic (ideally using digital storytelling techniques); follow the format of a more traditional academic research paper; or be a proposal for a new organization (business, governmental, or non-governmental). Some students (for instance, those in an IB degree program) may find that they have a school-related project that can connect to Sustainable Summer. Others will be asked to develop a project concept through a guided process early in the program. Students will give a brief 5-minute presentation on their project at the end of the program.
Case Studies
It's easy to be green when you have the time, resources, and autonomy to do so. But the real-world is far more complicated. We'll work through several multi-stakeholder case studies related to sustainability issues so students can better understand the process of negotiation and comprise that is needed to implement sustainable solutions.
Sustainability Action Plan
All students develop a Sustainability Action Plan, which outlines a proposed sustainability initiative to complete back home. The SAP is considered a work in progress that gets “workshopped” in small group settings throughout the program. The final version is shared with the group at the end of the program and “accountability partners” are established to encourage implementation of the outlined action steps.

Program Tuition

Each program has a tiered tuition rate: standard (full tuition), tuition assistance (83% of tuition), or scholarship (as low as 15% of tuition).

How It Works

$ 2795
  • Participants at this tuition rate cover only their direct participation costs, including lodging, meals, activities, in-country staff and transportation, and support for local projects. Participation at this level is based on the honor system. It is available to all families - no documentation required. We simply ask families to honestly consider their financial resources and ability to pay the full tuition rate.
$ 520 - 2430
  • Additional scholarship funding is available for students that are unable to participate at either of the other rates. Scholarship participants receive up to an 85% reduction of the standard course fee. Due to the limited availability of scholarship funds, a separate application is required, including a parent financial statement and recent tax return.

What's Included

Accommodations

in either single, double, or triple rooms in a college residence hall at the Pratt Institute in the Clinton Hill neighborhood, just steps from dozens of cafes, restaurants, shops, parks, and much more.

Meals

Students will be provided with a full meal plan through campus dining services. Dietary preferences or restrictions are no problem.

Activities

Activities, from the adventurous to the cultural, are a regular part of the program. For instance, we'll do a 3-day sea kayaking progression in the East River and also hit some of Brooklyn's classic summer cultural events, like the Smorgasborg food market and the Celebrate Brooklyn concert series in Prospect Park.

Dynamic Learning Opportunities

Place-based. Interactive. Fun. We'll be visiting rooftop organic farms, learning about NYC's water supply and waste management systems from local experts, and discover other fascinating concepts using interactive approaches to learning.

Guest Speakers

A guest speaker series brings leading sustainability experts from NYC into the program.

4 Full-Time Professional Facilitators

Our fantastic staff lives in the residence hall with the group.

Pre-Program Materials and Support

Students and parents receive comprehensive and prompt pre-program support.

Not Included

Tuition does not include transportation to/from campus, or personal expenses such as laundry, snacks, souvenirs, and other incidentals.

Program Details

 

A Typical Day

Breakfast
Start the day with a healthy and delicious breakfast from the Dining Hall.
Sustainability Course
Let's talk sustainability. These sessions aim to develop "eco-literacy" in our students, such as the understanding of the interconnectedness of human and natural systems; and the linkages found in nature and those connecting economic systems, environment, and society.
Leadership Workshop
The subject of leadership and personal growth is approached through a series of interactive workshops. This segment of the program focuses on teamwork and communication skills, critical thinking, and action planning. Workshops include topics such as failure and its importance in personal development; global citizenry; agency; introspection and self-discovery; positive risk-taking; public speaking and engagement; active listening; and more.
Lunch Break
Recharge your batteries with lunch and some time to relax before the afternoon session starts.
Afternoon Activity
Depending on the day, we could be at a rooftop organic farm, learning and working; on a site visit to one of the sustainability initiatives nearby; or enjoying a casual afternoon in the city.
Free Time or Independent Research
Work on your independent project. Or just hang out.
Dinner
The dinner options are plentiful, and always delicious.
Workshop or guest speaker
Depending on the day, we could have a guest speaker or a workshop on leadership, sustainability, or another relevant subject.
Free Time
Hang out with friends until curfew.

Course Calendar

This is a broad outline of the program broken out by morning, afternoon, and evening events. Each day there is also typically a few hours in the afternoon or evening for unstructured social time.

Week 1

  • Day 1: Arrival/Orientation
  • Day 2: Orientation/Coursework/Guest Speaker
  • Day 3: Coursework/Site Visit/Workshop
  • Day 4: Coursework/Volunteer Project/Guest Speaker
  • Day 5: Coursework/Site Visit/Project Research
  • Day 6: Brooklyn Bridge Park Kayaking Class & Sustainability Tour
  • Day 7: Kayaking Class & Smorgasburg

Week 2

  • Day 8: Kayaking Trip to Red Hook/Resiliency & Micro-grid Workshops
  • Day 9: Day Trip to Yale University's Sustainability Initiatives
  • Day 10: Coursework/Site Visit/Workshop
  • Day 11: Coursework/Group Project/Guest Speaker
  • Day 12: Independent Project Presentations
  • Day 13: Hiking/Closing Event
  • Day 14: Departure

Sustainable Summer reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the program itinerary. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in weather; to take advantage of a new activity or unscheduled opportunity (such as a festival or event); to accommodate the health needs of an individual participant; or due to changes in activities or schedules of our partners and providers.

The itinerary shown here attempts to capture a general feel for the day-to-day activities for this program, but is not intended to reflect the actual program itinerary.

Guest Speakers

Speakers for our 2018 program include*:

Pete Dominick is the host of Stand Up! with Pete Dominick on SiriusXM 104, which regularly features conversations with some of the biggest names in politics, journalism, public policy and entertainment. The Huffington Post called Stand Up! "Truly the best political talk show on the air today."

Dan Sherrell is the Campaign Coordinator for NYRenews and was previously an Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. Although only in his mid-twenties, Sherrell’s experience with climate action is already remarkable. The son of an oceanographer, Sherrell says his awareness of climate change started with the stories his father would tell after returning from research expeditions in the melting Antarctic. While attending Brown University, Sherrell, along with other students, launched the effort to divest the school’s endowment from coal, one of the first fossil fuel divestment campaigns in history. Sherrell and the Beyond Coal campaign were instrumental in New York's decision to retire all of its coal plants by 2020, and supplant at least 50 percent of its electric power with renewable energy sources by the year 2030.

An representative from NYC's Office of Resiliency and Recovery

The Executive Director of a prominent climate activism groups

A leading urban permaculturist and food security expert

*Subject to change

FAQs

Our 2018 program will be run by Jeff Sharpe. Jeff is the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Learning, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that runs Sustainable Summer programs. Supporting Jeff is a team of experienced environmental educators. All of our staff live in the dormitory with students and provide support, mentorship, and supervision. There are also several guest instructors and speakers that are active in sustainability initiatives locally that work with our group.
We cap enrollment for this program at 25 students.
It's not necessary to have any previous coursework beyond a freshman year earth science or biology course and a strong interest in the subject matter. Nearly all of our participants are already active in sustainability or environmental clubs within their school or community, but if you're just starting to develop an interest in the subject, there is probably a place for you on the program. All prospective students will need to apply and be accepted into the program, which requires completing our online application. We have received feedback from some past students and parents asking us to state more clearly that program admissions are competitive, and while we're not interested in putting admission statistics on our website, we'll take this opportunity to state in no uncertain terms that we deny admission to a large percentage of our applicant pool. Please visit our online application for additional information regarding our expectations.
No. We offer an environmental leadership academy at Dartmouth College every summer. We occasionally get questions from prospective parents inquiring if our programs are run by Dartmouth. We want to be clear about the fact that Dartmouth College is NOT a sponsor or co-sponsor of our Brooklyn program, the program we run at Dartmouth, nor any other program we offer anywhere in the world. In New York, we partner with the Pratt Institute to provide housing and meals. We also work with members of the Pratt faculty on programming, but the program is run by Sustainable Summer, not by Pratt.
Students arriving by plane are encouraged to plan their travel to JFK International Airport, where they will be greeted by our staff and escorted to campus using the AirTrain and LIRR at a cost of $15.25 each way. We can also support arrivals by train to Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal for no additional fee. If you need to arrive at Newark or LaGuardia airport, or some other arrival point, please contact us for details and fees. We have very detailed information about travel to/from the program (whether by plane, car, etc) that we provide to families upon enrollment, but feel free to contact us with travel logistics questions prior to enrollment.
No. Our position on college credit for pre-college enrichment programs is that, in most cases, it drives up the cost of participation without adding much value to the experience. It's unlikely that admissions officers will weight the fact that a course was taken "for credit" any greater than one that is not in admissions decisions. Furthermore, competitive universities do not typically allow pre-college credits to transfer. Typically to be eligible for credit transfer, a course must be offered by accredited four year degree granting institutions as part of an undergraduate degree program, be at least three weeks long and meet for a minimum of 30 contact hours, and/or course enrollment must be by a majority of current college students. The vast majority of pre-college courses, even those offered by colleges themselves, don't meet these requirements. This is probably why large pre-college programs run by universities like Columbia don't confer credit. They know it's not going to transfer.
Maybe, but that depends significantly on a number of factors. See this article on college admissions for more info.
Yes. This program is designed to connect with a few different global learning programs or our environmental leadership academy at Dartmouth College.
Students will be provided with a full meal plan. Breakfast and lunch are a la carte off a declining balance program. Dinner is family-style. Weekends feature brunch and dinner only. Dietary preferences or restrictions are no problem.

Students will live in either single, double, or triple rooms in a Pratt Institute residence hall in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. This is a beautiful "brownstone" neighborhood. Most New Yorkers consider Clinton Hill to be "post-gentrification" and "affluent" and "safe." These are obviously subjective terms, but we want to provide some helpful information to prospective parents and students that may not be familiar with Brooklyn. Call us with any questions or concerns?