Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Alaska

Accepted student information for BELL: Alaska

Welcome to Brown University Pre-College Programs

Congratulations! We are looking forward to your participation in this unique and engaging program. Please review these pages carefully with your family and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. Students and families can speak with a Program Advisor by calling 401-863-7900 during business hours (Monday - Friday 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST) or by email at precollege@brown.edu.

Important Dates

Be sure all of your forms and payment are completed by their assigned deadline:

  • April 13: Full payment and all required forms 

Students registered after these deadlines are expected to complete form requirements and make payment within 48 hours of registration.

  • Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation Session on May 2, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. EST

There will be a mandatory online program orientation for you and a member of your family on May 2, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. EST. You will receive an email invite to this information session that will include a link to register. You can either attend the orientation live or receive a recording of the orientation for later review. This is a mandatory orientation, so please be sure to register so you can participate live. To participate in this orientation, you will need access to a computer or smartphone (no webcam is necessary, but useful if you’d like to use it).

Forms

Forms are submitted electronically through DocuSign, an electronic signature provider where you can digitally fill out and sign our required forms and waivers as well as upload your required Physician’s Immunization and Health History Form signed by a medical provider. Most forms include sections for both students and parents/guardians to complete.

Checklists

You should log in to your student portal as soon as possible to complete your pre-program requirements. Parents and guardians also receive a checklist of items to complete, which are sent via email. Please remind them to check their email accounts for this important information that requires action. The usernames and passwords associated with your Brown email address will be needed prior to and during your course time. Please be sure to document all usernames and passwords.

Accessibility Services
If applicable: Students may request accommodations based on a learning, psychological and/or physical disability, including medical conditions, temporary injuries and significant food allergies. Please be aware that all accommodation requests will be considered, however, there may be limits as to what can be provided without sufficient notice. Be sure to submit your requests using the Medical Authorization and Health History Form by April 13.

Please visit the Healthy Summer at Pre-College page for updates and information about Brown Pre-College Programs preparedness, action and response to COVID-19.

Students attending BELL programs are expected to follow the same Health and Safety Protocols as students attending on-campus programs. There may be additional protocols implemented by a partner lodging site, field trip, or local airport. Any additional information specific to this program will be provided on this page once finalized.

Airport Pickup/Drop-Off 

Anchorage International Airport (Airport Code: ANC)

Arrival Day

Sunday, July 24, 2022 between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST)

BELL staff will only be at the airport to meet students during the scheduled arrival window. Staff will be wearing “Brown University” T-shirts. Once everyone has arrived, the group will travel together to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

Departure Day

Saturday, August 6 between noon and 3 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST)

At the end of the program, staff will transport the students back to the Anchorage International Airport. Staff will help students check-in to their flights and find the security checkpoint. However, once students are through security, they are responsible for communicating with their families and managing their flight home.

If a program address is needed for customs purposes, please use the following address. Students cannot receive mail or packages while in the program.

University of Alaska Anchorage Student Housing

3700 Sharon Gagnon Ln. #101

Anchorage, Alaska 99508

IMPORTANT: Note that this program has strict arrival and departure windows for airport pick-up and drop-off.

Please keep in mind that our staffing model does not accommodate student travel outside of our arrival and departure windows. If a student is on a flight outside of the provided time windows, they will need to arrange for their own transportation to meet up with the group upon arrival/or depart for their flight at the conclusion of the program. Students who arrange travel within the provided time windows will be included in all group transportation to and from the program site(s).

Unaccompanied Travel Statement

In recent years, bus, train, and airline carriers have instituted a range of policies related to unaccompanied minors traveling. As such, Brown Pre-College Programs are unable to meet many of these new requirements. Program staff can support students upon arrival after clearing customs and at departure upon reaching security.

Flight Delays

If you experience a delay while traveling to Anchorage, please call or text the BELL Alaska On-Site Director at (401) 749-3841 with your new arrival time. Please note: This number will not be active until a few days before the program starts. This number will also be shared during the Pre-Departure Orientation Session.

Communication with Families

At the beginning of the program, staff will send out an email to confirm that all students have arrived safely in Anchorage and have started to build community together at BELL.

At the end of the program, after students are through the security gates at the Anchorage airport (or have met with family members at the airport), the program staff will send out another email to confirm that students have started their journeys home.

Please note that these emails will be sent out to the family member email address that we have on file. If you have an alternative email address that you’d like included in this list, please contact the BELL: On Site Director once the program begins or contact the Program Director (jane_diener@brown.edu) before the program begins.

Important Packing Tips

  • There is limited space in the dorm rooms: bring only what you need. Soft-sided bags are best for fitting in small spaces. Reminder: most airlines charge extra for luggage weighing over 50 lbs.
  • Weather can vary significantly. Please check the weather in Anchorage, Homer, and Soldotna (zip codes: 99508, 99603, & 99669) prior to packing. Some evenings during the program may dip into temperatures as low as 40°F (5°C). 
  • Rain gear is important because it will almost certainly rain during the program. Good rain gear would consist of: a poncho and/or rain jacket, nylon pants or shorts, waterproof shoes (i.e., hiking boots), “quick-dry” materials on all clothing, and rain pants. Rain pants can be relatively inexpensive and will make you feel a lot more comfortable during lessons in the rain. Our outdoor activities will continue, rain or shine.
  • Bring clothing that is easily washable or that you do not mind getting dirty.
  • It is best to dress in layers during BELL. For example, you might end up wearing leggings or long pants, rain pants, a T-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a rain jacket, and hiking boots. On other days, you may be wearing quick-dry shorts, a T-shirt, and a rain jacket. 
  • You do not have to buy any new gear for this trip, but if you are interested in learning more about one way to dress in layers, this link provides some good advice. However, please adhere to the detailed packing list provided below.

BELL Required Items 

  • 1 suitcase or duffle bag for all items. If you can’t carry it, it is too big/heavy
  • 1 sleeping bag (and a sheet for a twin mattress if you prefer to sleep on a covered surface)
  • Pillow (or to reduce bulk, bring a pillow case and stuff it with clothes)
  • 1 bath towel
  • Small day/backpack that can be used on hikes and as a carry-on for airplane*
  • Sturdy, closed toe shoes that can be worn for hiking (hiking boots are not required; shoes may get muddy/dirty)
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants and/or leggings (quick-dry material preferred) (3 – 6 pairs)
  • Shorts (3 – 5 pairs)
  • Polar fleece and/or warm layers 
  • Long sleeve shirts (2 – 3 for layering)
  • T-shirts
  • Warm hat (e.g., a beanie)
  • Good rain gear (both rain jacket and rain pants)
  • Sun hat or baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock (purchase of reef-safe and/or mineral-based products are encouraged)
  • Any prescribed medications and a copy of original prescription
  • Government-issued photo ID (for airplane)
  • Blank journal and writing implements
  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Toothbrush and toiletries (we recommend using small sample sizes that can be purchased at drug stores or using items provided by hotels)
  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Dining supplies, including one large plate or bowl, fork, spoon, mug and reusable napkin (lightweight, non breakable items are recommended)
  • Phone charger
  • You will need a smaller bag for a three-night trip to the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
  • Reusable sandwich bag or snack bag (to bring your own snack for hikes and outings)

Optional Items

  • Light gloves
  • Antihistamines (such as calamine lotion, Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl to treat mosquito bites)
  • Insect repellant
  • Eye mask and ear plugs to sleep more comfortably
  • Plastic bags to store wet or dirty items
  • Inexpensive camera

Laundry Facilities

There is no access to laundry facilities during BELL Alaska. Students should pack enough clothing to last the entire program.

Spending Money

All your food and housing is covered in the program fee as well as entry fees to various sites. You will only need money while you are traveling to and from Alaska. We will have one or two occasions to purchase souvenirs, if you so choose.

What Not to Bring

  • Laptop computers, tablets, or other valuable electronics.  Please note: Students will not have time to use their personal laptops and will not have access to computers on site. 
  • Students are prohibited from bringing illegal drugs, alcohol, and weapons of any sort, including pocket or Swiss Army knives.

Where We Stay

For most of the program, we will be sleeping in dorm spaces where students will be housed with other BELL students. Our dorm host will be University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Students will have access to community or shared private bathrooms with private showers.

While students will not be staying on the Kenai Peninsula overnight, the group will be traveling in that area for at least one full day to meet with a guest speaker at the Kenai Wildlife Refuge.

For three nights in the middle of the program, students will stay at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) Peterson Bay Field Station, where they will be sleeping in yurts without running water or electricity. However, there is a permanent lodge visible and in walking distance of the yurts with electricity, running water, composting toilets, and a group space in case of bad weather. The lodge is also where students will work with staff to cook their own meals during their stay at CACS (no previous cooking experience needed). This facility does not have showers.

BELL Alaska Map


Itinerary

Students get a detailed schedule upon arrival. Students must attend all days of the program in order to qualify for the individualized program evaluation from BELL staff. This schedule is subject to change:

Day 1 - Arrival Day

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage 

- Group transportation to UAA, first group meal (dinner), BELL Orientation, catch up on sleep

Day 8

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Students sleep in, leadership workshop, stakeholder negotiation lesson, Action Plan work

Day 2

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Anchorage Museum visit and tour, Cook Inlet Tribal Council Guest Speakers, leadership workshop

Day 9

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Alaska Native Heritage Center, Traditional Foods Demonstration, leadership workshop, Action Plan work

Day 3

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

-  Cook Inlet Tribal Council guest speakers and lessons on Conservation, Mining, and Fisheries, pack for the next stop

Day 10

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage 

- Field trip in Anchorage, stakeholder negotiation debrief, Action Plan work

Day 4

Lodging: Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies 

- Travel to Homer Island & Oceans Visitor Center, travel Peterson Bay Field Station by boat, CACS Orientation

Day 11

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Leadership workshop, Cook Inlet Tribal Council debrief, Field trip in Anchorage

Day 5 

Lodging: Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

- Marine/Forest ecology lessons, leadership workshops, introduction to Action Plan

Day 12

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, group hike, talent show

Day 6

Lodging: Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

- Tidepooling, data debrief, leadership workshop, Action Plan work, campfire

Day 13

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage

- Action Plan presentations, Matanuska Glacier, Closing Circle

Day 7

Lodging: University of Alaska, Anchorage 

-  CACS wrap up and clean up, travel to Kenai, Kenai Wildlife Refuge  scenic hike with lecture, travel to Anchorage

Day 14 - Departure Day

- Last group breakfast and goodbyes, group transportation to the airport at 10:00 a.m.

Curfew

Our days are busy, requiring the students’ energy and attention throughout the day. Although we ask students to be in their rooms by curfew at 10 p.m., we respect the students’ ability to choose when to go to sleep.

Due to the proximity to the Arctic Circle, it will be light until midnight with only 2 to 3 hours of darkness before dawn. You may choose to bring a sleeping mask to create a darker environment if you have trouble sleeping in light.

This is an example of a typical day at BELL:

Schedule

Breakfast

8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Morning Field Trip or Lesson

9 a.m. to Noon

Lunch/Free Time

Noon to 2 p.m.

Afternoon Field Trip, Lab or Lesson

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Free Time and/or Supper Prep

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Supper

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Evening Labs and Discussions

7 p.m to 9 p.m.

Free Time

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Dietary and Medical Conditions

We will work with the staff to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies if we are notified in advance. Students must communicate significant food allergies that require meal accommodations (e.g. gluten, shellfish, soy, eggs, milk) on the Medical Authorization and Health History Form by April 13. Please also indicate any dietary preferences, including vegetarian and vegan diets, to allow us to plan accordingly.

Prescription Medications

Students are responsible for safely storing and taking their own prescription medication. Students who are not accustomed to managing their own medication should work with their families to determine the best approach to do so during the program. All students who are taking prescription medications should bring prescribed medication in its original container and a copy of their prescription (which can be an electronic copy). Having a copy of the original prescription will enable us to replace medication if needed. Students with life-saving asthma and anaphylaxis medications (e.g., inhalers and epi-pens) must keep them on their person at all times.

Personal Health and Medical Emergencies

The BELL Alaska program is a physically taxing program involving significant exertion in the outdoors. For your safety and comfort during the program, we expect participants to fully disclose any and all pre-existing medical conditions on required medical forms.

In a medical emergency, you will be transported to a nearby hospital. All of our activities take place within 2 hours of a hospital. For minor problems, we have a well-equipped first aid kit and staff trained in Wilderness First Aid.

Swimming during BELL

BELL Alaska does not include any swimming, however students will be spending a lot of time near bodies of water. Students should feel comfortable on a boat and near bodies of water.

Safety and Supervision

Students will have clear guidelines regarding where they can go alone or with a buddy, but the group stays together most of the time. Staff are available for support and assistance 24 hours a day. Despite many students being experienced and competent travelers, the BELL staff expects all students to stay with the group at all times and provide notice if they need to separate from the group for any reason.

Communication During the Program

To contact us in an emergency, parents may call the BELL AK On-Site Director at (401) 749-3841. Please note: this number will not be active until a few days before the program starts. At certain times during the program, students and/or staff may experience lapses in cell phone service. Staff will be checking the program phone often to return missed phone calls or text messages as soon as they are able.

Cell Phone Policy

We try to stay tuned in to each other and to our natural surroundings throughout the program, so we ask that the use of mobile devices (for phone calls, texting, social media, etc.) be limited to free time in the evening. Letting go of the frequent connection to our phones helps us form a community and adjust to a new environment more quickly.

Fellow Students

Students attending BELL are encouraged to come with an open mind to meeting new people with diverse and varied perspectives. Each student accepted to BELL brings with them their own experiences and the cohort comes together to create a fascinating community. All students will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and get to know their peers during pre-departure orientation on Canvas and on the first day of the program.

Code of Conduct

Please review the Brown Code of Conduct.

Financial Information

Please review our Financial Policies for more information.

Course Completion Materials

You will receive a Course Performance Report from your instructor and you in turn will be asked to complete a course evaluation. If you successfully complete your program you will receive a Certificate of Completion. All completion materials including the Course Performance Report will be sent out in early September. The certificate will be sent via US Mail to your listed address and the Course Performance Report will be sent electronically to the email address we have on file for you.