Summer 2018 Applications Accepted Starting October 1st Notify Me

How do organizations create positive sustainability outcomes?
Days: 14 • Group Size: 40 • Ages: 15 - 18
July 8 - July 21 March 11th Application Deadline
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Dartmouth: Entrepreneurship, Economics, and the Environment

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Environmental Leadership Academy

Sustainable Summer’s Environmental Leadership Academy at Dartmouth College enables the next generation of environmental leaders to engage in sustainability inquiry and action.

In this Summer Program at Dartmouth College…

  • You’ll tackle challenging academic concepts in an interactive sustainability course
  • You’ll develop your communication, critical thinking, and action planning skills in a series of leadership workshops
  • You’ll visit businesses with strong social and environmental commitments and enjoy guest lectures from leading sustainability experts
  • You’ll live in a residence hall at Dartmouth College with other environmentally-minded high school students
  • You’ll experience college life on Dartmouth’s beautiful campus and the surrounding area
  • You’ll hike and paddle through some of New England’s most beautiful places

Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from Dartmouth’s campus and classrooms, into the charming college town of Hanover, NH, over to the Green Mountains of neighboring Vermont and to the White Mountains of New Hampshire in search of sustainability initiatives, inspiration, and ideas.

Our Dartmouth Environmental Leadership Academy is ideal for high school students with a strong interest in environmental sustainability, and is particularly well suited to students interested in entrepreneurship, business, and non-profits. Coursework on the program is rooted in economics and environmental entrepreneurship.

Additionally, there are few college campuses that can rival Dartmouth’s as a place to get a taste for college living. Picture yourself working with a team of your peers to develop a presentation on “triple bottom line” business over coffee in the student center. Or going canoeing or swimming in the Connecticut River, a few minutes walk from your residence hall. You’ll get to experience campus life, but also get to enjoy some of the incredible wilderness nearby while hiking on the Appalachian Trail and spending two nights in Dartmouth’s Moosilauke Lodge in the dramatic White Mountains.

Not sure if this is the right option for you? Use our Compare Programs page to help you assess which Sustainable Summer is the best fit for your interests and comfort zone.



on Dartmouth's campus with a group of like-minded teens


leadership skills and enhance your understanding of complex environmental concepts


in the nearby mountains and rivers

2017 Program Staff *

Maclaine Sorden

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Josh Frye Photo

Joshua Frye

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Holli Watne

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Cathy Yuhas

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Student Stories

Dartmouth College Testimonials

Thanks for all the hard work you put into Sustainable Summer and for making this amazing experience possible. I’ll recommend it to all of my friends and somehow rate it like 10 stars out of 5. I never really understood what sustainability was and why it was so important, but now I know for sure […]

  Julie,  student from Danville, CA

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Core Curriculum & Program Components

Much More Than A Pre-College Program

Ivy-league college campus? Check. Unique and interactive experiences? Absolutely. A smart, down-to-earth group of like-minded teens? Yup. A top-tier campus is just the start. Our programs prepare teens to become environmental leaders through dynamic place-based learning.
Sustainability in Businesses & Organizations
How do organizations create positive sustainability outcomes? 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

$ 2895
  • 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


in either single, double, or triple rooms in Russell Sage residence hall, located just steps from the Dartmouth Green, the dining hall, and other centers of campus life


Students will be provided with a full meal plan through Dartmouth's dining services. Dartmouth is a leader in food sustainability and meal options invariably include ingredients sourced locally. Dietary preferences or restrictions are no problem.


Activities, from the adventurous to the cultural, are a regular part of the program. For instance, we'll do a cooking class at King Arthur Flour and hike the Appalachian Trail.

Dynamic Learning Opportunities

Place-based. Interactive. Fun. We'll be at the organic farm, learning about beekeeping, aquaponics, and other fascinating concepts, and participating in other interactive educational activities.

Guest Speakers

A guest speaker series brings leading sustainability experts from the Dartmouth community 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

Start the day with a healthy and delicious breakfast from the Dartmouth Dining Hall. Most food is sourced locally.
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 the Dartmouth Organic Farm, learning and working; on a site visit to one of the sustainability initiatives on campus or nearby; or enjoying a casual afternoon on campus.
Free Time or Independent Research
Work on your independent project. Or just hang out.
The dinner options are plentiful, and always delicious.
Workshop or guest speaker
Depending on the day, we could have a guest speaker from the Dartmouth community 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: Coursework/Group Project/Friday Night Fun
  • Day 7: Canoeing and Kayaking on the river/Relax

Week 2

  • Day 8: Rest day/Project Research/Movie Night
  • Day 9: Coursework/Group Project/Guest Speaker
  • 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 2017 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."

Dr. Celia Chen is an ecotoxicologist whose research over the last 15 years has focused on the fate and effects of metal contaminants in aquatic food webs both in freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. Her research questions focus on the chemical and ecological factors that influence metal uptake, including salinity, natural organic matter, feeding strategy, and food web structure. She and her colleagues are also developing killifish microarrays as biomarkers of metal exposure.

Rosi Kerr is the Director of Sustainability at Dartmouth College where her goal is to help transform Dartmouth into a global leader of sustainability scholarship, education and action.Previously, Rosi was the Director of Sustainability at GreenerU where she led implementation of sustainability programs on a multiple campuses, including Babson College. Before that, Rosi was the founding Executive Director of Gray is Green, a non-profit focused on engaging people over 65 in environmental sustainability, and an Energy Advisor at Juice Energy, a renewable energy supplier in NYC where she developed energy and carbon management strategies for businesses. Rosi earned a BA from Dartmouth ('97) and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She serves on the Board of Vineyard Power,, the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation and on the Sustainability Advisory Board for GreenerU.

Carey Underwood is the Director of Personnel for King Arthur Flour, an employee-owned company consistently rated one of the top places to work in Vermont. Carey will be speaking about KAF's commitment to social and environmental responsibility and about its corporate structure as a Certified Benefit Corporation (B-Corp).

Merritt Patridge is the Executive Director for Business, Government, and Society at Dartmouth's Tuck School of business. Previously, she was the program lead for impact investing at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science (TDC). She joined TDC upon her graduation from the M.B.A. program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Prior to Tuck, Meritt worked for 5 years in the investment management industry, first as an investment analyst at Morgan Creek Capital Management, which offered endowment-style investment and advisory services to private clients, and then as a senior investment analyst for a long/short equity focused hedge fund, Maverick Capital. At Maverick, she served as a board member for the firm’s philanthropic foundation, Maverick Capital Foundation. In this role, she led grant-making activities, developed analytical tools for evaluating non-profit organizations and their impact and set strategic direction. Meritt received a B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

*Subject to change


Our 2017 program will be run by Jeff Sharpe and Joshua Frye. Joshua is a professor of communications. His research interests revolve around the production and consumption of persuasive messages, especially of an environmental and political nature as well as leadership communication strategies in organizational and social movement settings. Jeff is the Founder and Executive Director of Sustainable Learning, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that runs Sustainable Summer programs. Supporting Joshua and Jeff are 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 within the Dartmouth community that work with our group.
We cap enrollment at 40 students.
40 students and 4 full-time residential staff, for a ratio of 10:1.
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 and conducting an admissions phone interview, during which we discuss your interests and objectives for the summer and your past experience working collaboratively with your peers. We also review the program particulars and seek to determine, to the best of our abilities, if the program is an appropriate fit for you. Students sometimes ask if they are going to be "quizzed" on their sustainability knowledge during the interview, and the answer is "no." The interview is essentially a casual conversation designed to make sure you are a good fit for the program, and that we are a good fit for you. Simply come prepared to speak about your interest in sustainability and what you hope to get out of the program, and you'll be in great shape.
No. Dartmouth College is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of the program. Sustainable Summer leases space from Dartmouth to run the program and involvement by Dartmouth faculty or staff in the Environmental Leadership Institute is independent of the College. We do, however, offer lots of programming through Dartmouth's Sustainability Office and the Dartmouth Organic Farm, but to reiterate again - this is not an official Dartmouth College program.
That isn't a possibility through our program, but, even if you're not already familiar with the concept of sustainability, we encourage you take a few minutes to look through the curriculum and other program information. The program is geared towards students with an interest in environmental studies, but this is a broad field that overlaps with a number of other disciplines, such as business, public policy, and the sciences. We are also more focused on developing transferable skills (eg; critical thinking and problem solving), then developing deep content knowledge. Students will certainly acquire lots of newfound information about sustainability, but learning is circular and we are primarily focused on building skill-sets that will help students be successful in a variety of academic disciplines when they matriculate to college.
On the arrival day for the program, students will be greeted at Boston Logan International Airport by our staff and transported to campus using Dartmouth Coach, which is a private transportation service that runs direct between Logan and Hanover. This is by far and away the safest, most affordable, and most sustainable option for coordinating airport transfers. The one-way fare is $38. Students should plan on arriving at Logan no later than 3pm, and ideally earlier (between 10am - 2pm is recommended). For return flights, students will return to Boston Logan airport by Dartmouth Coach for an afternoon flight home. We have very detailed information about travel to/from the program by plane that we provide to families upon enrollment, but feel free to contact us with travel logistics questions prior to enrollment. Parents are responsible for purchasing a ticket on Dartmouth Coach's website.
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. For instance, Dartmouth's policy states that eligible courses must be offered by accredited four year degree granting institutions as "an integral part of an officially defined undergraduate Arts and Sciences curriculum." Additionally, "a course must be at least three weeks long and meet for a minimum of 30 contact hours." Other university registrar's offices often require that course enrollment must be by a majority of current college students to be eligible. 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 the first session of our Sustaining the Amazon program. Please see here for additional info.
Students will be provided with a full meal plan through Dartmouth's dining services. Dartmouth is a leader in food sustainability and meal options invariably include ingredients sourced locally, such as from Dartmouth's own organic farm three miles from campus. Dietary preferences or restrictions are no problem.

Students will live in either single, double, or triple rooms in Russell Sage residence hall, on the north side of Tuck Mall.

Russell Sage Residence Hall

The entire residence hall is dedicated to Sustainable Summer students. A common area, TV room, and kitchen are available to students. The residence halls are not air-conditioned, but summer evenings in Hanover rarely warrant A/C.

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