How do organizations create positive sustainability outcomes?
Days: 14 • Group Size: 48 - 50 • Ages: 15 - 18
July 14 - July 27 Closed
Textbox Section

Dartmouth: Entrepreneurship and the Environment

By on in

Environmental Leadership Academy

Please note: Dartmouth College is not an official sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. Admission to this program is selective. To be notified when we open our application for Summer 2020, please click here.

Sustainable Summer’s Environmental Leadership Academy at Dartmouth 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 concepts in an interactive sustainability course and develop the knowledge, skills and values you need to engage with the world as a global citizen
  • 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 with other environmentally-minded high school students and 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
  • You’ll collaborate with a team of your peers to develop a new social venture

Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from Dartmouth’s campus and classrooms into the charming college town of Hanover, NH, and beyond. From visits to some of Vermont’s leading Benefit Corporations (B-Corps) to the summit in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in search of sustainability initiatives, inspiration, and ideas.

Our Environmental Leadership Academy at Dartmouth is ideal for high school students with a strong interest in environmental sustainability, and is particularly well suited to students interested in entrepreneurship, socially-responsible business, and non-profits. Coursework on the program is rooted in entrepreneurship with a dash of environmental economics and a survey of some of the most important ideas in sustainability. Ultimately, we want to help students launch an organization that can create environmental good. The program examines topics including the responsibilities that businesses and individuals have towards the planet and society; the limitations and advantages that different organizational structures and business models have in advancing positive sustainability outcomes; how markets function and how incentives affect individual, business and institutional behavior; and how sustainability-conscious firms think about the management of natural resources in a market economy.

With this foundation in place, the program then shifts focus to innovation whereby students learn how to start a company…by starting a company. During a 3-day “start-up” bootcamp participants are guided through the process of finding a market-oriented environmental problem worth solving and converting abstract ideas into real ventures.

Summer at Dartmouth

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 pitch for a newly conceived “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 culminating in a summit of Mount Moosilauke, one of the finest day hikes in the White Mountains. Most days feature some combination of classroom-based learning and field-based and/or experiential learning. We want to get out and about exploring sustainability on campus and in the surrounding natural world. Contact us to find out more.



on Dartmouth's campus with a group of like-minded teens and play in the nearby mountains and rivers


leadership skills and enhance your understanding of complex environmental concepts


how to start a new social venture that solves an environmental problem

Program Staff *

Rosalie Wright-Lapin

Read Bio

Olivia Cook

Read Bio

Joanna Johnson

Read Bio

Jeff Sharpe Photo

Jeff Sharpe

Read Bio

Alex Sclafani

Read Bio

Student Stories

Dartmouth Testimonials

I want to emphasize the impact Sustainable Summer has had on my life and how it has helped shaped me into a better and more conscientious human being. The culture and environment could not be better in terms of enabling students to discover and pursue their environmental passions.

  Charlie,  student from Columbus, OH

Read More Testimonials


Program Components & Goals

Program Components

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 a collaborative, multidisciplinary, challenge-based learning approach.

Entrepreneurship, Economics, and the Environment
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 important concepts in the field of sustainability, including corporate social responsibility; conservation finance; environmental economics; decarbonization strategies; and socially-inclusive economic development.
21st Century Leadership
A “global citizen” is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building global values and practices. Frugality, integrity, humility, and cultural awareness guide our mission in creating the next generation of environmental leaders and responsible global citizens. Instead of a "leadership" curriculum, we infuse our program with activities that develop global citizenship in our students.
Developing Lifelong Skills
Challenge-based learning is a collaborative learning experience in which educators and students work together to learn about compelling issues, propose solutions to real problems, and take action. This unique approach asks students to reflect on their learning and the impact of their actions and publish their solutions to a worldwide audience. This component takes many forms on the program - including a ropes course team-building challenge, outdoor leadership activities, case studies, and other similar team challenges. One important program module is a 10-hour design thinking workshop culminating in a design challenge on the topic of corporate social responsibility intended to foster not only a specific and actionable solution to a problem, but also the development of lifelong innovation skills that help create economic, social, or cultural value.

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.

5 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.
Let's talk sustainability. These sessions explore essential concepts in environmental economics and entrepreneurship. Students will gain insight into an "economists way of thinking" about markets, pricing, incentives, and other factors that must be considered when attempting to lead organizational change that will yield positive environmental outcomes. This workshop series also explores the philosophy and mindset of environmental entrepreneurs and helps students understand the most important considerations for operationalizing an idea into a venture that creates positive environmental outcomes while being financially sustainable.
Breakout Session
In small groups, students will dive deeper into the subject matter of the morning seminar, through a case study, simulation, or discussion.
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 on a site visit to one of the sustainability initiatives on campus or nearby; in an afternoon seminar; hearing from a guest speaker; or enjoying a casual afternoon on campus. Afternoons typically have at least two hours of structured program time, a break, and then an additional hour or two of programming.
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 global citizenship, 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: Ropes Course/Global Citizenship Workshop
  • Day 3: Coursework and Guest Speaker
  • Day 4: Coursework/Canoeing
  • Day 5: Coursework/King Arthur Flour Visit
  • Day 6: Coursework/Guest Speaker/Friday Night Fun
  • Day 7: Velvet Rocks Hike/Coursework

Week 2

  • Day 8: Organic Farm/Global Citizenship Workshop/Movie Night
  • Day 9: Coursework and Guest Speaker
  • Day 10: Ideation/Team Formation/Lean Canvas
  • Day 11: Customer Discovery/Testing Your Idea/Prototyping
  • Day 12: Preparing to Pitch and Presentations
  • Day 13: Hiking Mount Moosilauke/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.

Hike The AT

This program features an optional and awesome "add-on" backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail through New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Check It Out

Guest Speakers, Panelists, and Mentors

Guest Speakers for our 2018 program included*:

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."

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).

Panelists and Mentors for our 2018 "start-up bootcamp" included*:

  • Dartmouth's Director of Sustainability
  • Dartmouth's Sustainability Program Manager
  • the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship at the Center for Private Equity and Entrepreneurship at the Tuck School of Business
  • the Program Manager for the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network
  • PhD candidates studying sustainability issues in a Dartmouth graduate program
  • undergrads and recent graduates involved in entrepreneurship on campus

*2019 guest speakers may be posted here in the future, but the above list is representative of both past and planned programs


Our 2018 program will again be run by Jeff Sharpe and Joshua Frye, with support from a fantastic staff. 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 48 students.
48 students and 5 full-time residential staff.
It's not necessary to have any previous coursework beyond a freshman year earth science or biology course (or similar) 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 could still be a place for you on the program. We want a well-balanced cohort of students; not an echo chamber of environmentalists preaching to the proverbial choir. All prospective students will need to apply and be accepted into the program, which requires completing our online application. Admissions is selective and we receive many more applicants than there are available spots.
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 information here and contact us with any questions. 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, economics, and the sciences. We are also more focused on developing transferable skills (eg; critical thinking and problem solving), than 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. Generally speaking, students should plan on arriving at Logan no later than 2pm, although all enrolled students should check the travel information in their MySummer account for specifics before planning travel. 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 either of our Sustaining the Amazon sessions. Please see here for additional info and then give us a call if interested.
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.

Dartmouth Campus Map Image