Summer 2021 Online Course

Updated June 4th, 2021

This is a brief overview of our online course offering for Summer 2021. We are currently only planning for our very popular 2-week Entrepreneurship and the Environment program from June 21 – July 2. We held this virtual program in Summer 2020 and are pleased to bring it back for 2021. Applications were due June 1st. Please contact us for info on waitlist availability.

Information posted here is accurate but subject to minor changes.

Click here to start an application.

The Basics

In keeping with one of the most essential aspects of what makes a Sustainable Summer program what it is, our online programs are designed to allow for collaboration between students. Consequently, courses will meet in real time (rather than asynchronously) with breakout sessions and group project work occurring outside of classroom hours.

Please review the syllabus for our 2-week Entrepreneurship and the Environment program to get a sense for the program’s focus and requirements.

Who Can Participate?

Pre-requisites: Students that have successfully taken AP Environmental Science or a similar advanced course, such as the IB Environmental systems and societies, will do fine. Students without a solid foundation in environmental science or sustainability should have a look at the APES Units 5 – 9 as a way to gauge appropriateness. It is not expected that students will have a working knowledge of every topic prior to participation in this program, but students should recognize many of the terms and ideas and possess a genuine passion for developing further understanding of these topics. To be clear, we do not think that the AP is the end all, be all for high school environmental science. We are providing this as a common reference point for prospective students.

Geographical considerations: Unfortunately, even though this is a virtual course, we are still subject to some geographical constraints, namely time zones. Course times (M – F 1030a – 130p EST) were selected with students in the continental US/western hemisphere in mind. There is also group project work that will take place outside of class hours. We don’t want to dissuade students from further afield from participating, but we want to discuss with you before hand if you, for instance, live in a timezone radically different from the US.

Is there availability? Will the session definitely run? How competitive are admissions?

Applications are due June 1st. Admission decisions will be issued on or around the 7th of June. This program, in both the online version we first ran in 2020 and preceding campus-based versions, has been very popular and we expect strong interest, although it is a bit difficult to anticipate the application dynamics this year due to COVID. We also anticipate some shuffling of enrollment as students revise plans based on how the next few months of the pandemic shake out.

What is the time commitment?

Classes will meet 10:30am to 1:30pm EST Monday – Friday with a break from 11:45am – 12:30pm. There is also approximately 15 hours of total group project work that will occur outside of class hours. Week 1 has approximately 5 hours of group project work. Week 2 has approximately 15 hours. It is not possible to miss a class session or any of the group work.

What is the format of the courses?

The first week of the course will feature topical content (including breakout sessions and small group work). The second week is entirely dedicated to a significant group project. This is a comparable structure to our typical campus-based programs. The project format is rooted in design thinking methodology.

What is the fee to participate?

The fee is “pay what you wish” with a suggested tuition of $500. No one will be turned away if they cannot pay and we are not making acceptance or enrollment decisions based on a family’s ability to pay. We understand that many families are facing a lot of economic uncertainty right now. We have been operating off of a tiered tuition model for several years, so we feel comfortable putting the ball in parents’ court to decide if and how much to pay.

How many participants?


Who is the instructor?

Jeff Sharpe, Sustainable Summer’s founder and executive director.

Will there be guest lecturers or other experts teaching the course?

No. We do have a guest panel for our final presentations. Last summer the panel included an angel investor and CEO; a Sustainable Summer alum that is now an entrepreneur; and a college professor of sustainability.