Climate Change, Ecological Resilience, Environmental Action.
Brown Environmental Leadership Labs (BELL) combines content in environmental studies, ecology, and leadership, with a mission of developing socially responsible leaders. Students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to create positive change on environmental issues facing their local communities and the planet as a whole.
Over the course of two weeks, we will explore climate change, one of today’s most pressing issues that spans disciplines, crosses geo-political boundaries, and will fundamentally change the way we live in the coming years. Learning will be fast-paced, experiential, and include widely diverse perspectives.
This summer, students at BELL: Rhode Island will live and study at the pristine Whispering Pines Conference Center at the W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Students will work to better understand the causes and impacts of climate change and identify examples environmental resilience. Additionally, students will understand their role in developing solutions in the form of environmental action.
Socially responsible leadership is a lifelong pursuit that requires ongoing learning and reflection.
During your time at BELL: Rhode Island, you will identify a pressing issue that you are passionate about. With support from faculty and peers you will create an Action Plan to apply your new leadership knowledge to this issue upon return to you home community.
We encourage students to think about some potential Action Plan topics before they come to BELL, but most students develop their ideas during the program. For example, past students have established community gardens, written a grant to install solar panels, and coordinated an e-waste collection. More Action Plan final reports can be found here: Action Plan library.
Two Week Sessions
July 1 – 12, 2018
July 15 – 26, 2018
Eligibility: For students completing grades 9-12, ages 15-18 by June 2018
Note: This program is offered at a different site than previous BELL RI courses.Courses »
A large portion of our time will be spent outdoors during the program. Students can expect a moderate level of physical activity every day, and should be ready to participate in outdoor activities outdoors in all temperatures and weather conditions. We will take regular breaks to hydrate and we will limit sun exposure, however students are expected to bring essentials such as hats, water bottles, and sun protection.
Students will be staying in hotel-style housing at the Whispering Pines Conference Center. Students will be housed with 1 – 2 of their peers, separated by gender, and will sleep on separate mattresses in beds. All indoor facilities at Whispering Pines are air conditioned.
Students can expect three nutritious meals each day, primarily served in a dining area. We will work with the dining staff to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies if we are notified in advance.
Our students turn in their electronic devices on the first day of BELL. Although some students may initially have concerns about this practice, they soon begin to enjoy this unique opportunity to disconnect from electronic devices. Reducing distractions allows us to more fully engage with our community and beautiful surroundings. We ask students (and families) to limit cell phone use to times when students have their phones, which will be specified in advance. By breaking our ties to these technologies, we are able to be more mindful of our natural environment, build more intentional friendships, and practice self-reflection.
Each day is different, but the basic schedule begins at 8:30am and ends at 10:00pm. Throughout the program there will be outdoor activities, debates, discussions and interactions with local leaders and Brown faculty. In addition to coursework, students participate in community time to discuss current events, sharpen leadership skills, and simply have fun together in a beautiful place.
Sample day schedule:
|8:00 - 9:00am||Breakfast. Students help with set-up and clean-up|
|9:00 - 9:30am||Community tasks (everyone pitches in)|
|9:30 - 11:30am||Class time|
|11:30 - 12:00am||Free time|
|12:00 - 1:00pm||Lunch. Students help with set-up and clean-up|
|1:00 - 2:00pm||Solo Time (recharge, reflect, and be by yourself)|
|2:00 - 5:00pm||Class time|
|5:00 - 6:00pm||Free time|
|6:00 - 7:00pm||Dinner. Students help with set-up and clean-up|
|7:00 - 7:45pm||Recreation time|
|7:45 - 9:00pm||Evening Program|
|9:00 - 10:00pm||Free Time|
Please call us and ask to speak to the Program Director if any of these details are of concern so we can make sure you have enough information to make an informed decision about participation.
The summer weather in Rhode Island can vary. Please check the weather forecast for West Greenwich, RI (Zip code: 02817) before departure and pack accordingly, including a reusable water bottle to fill and use throughout the program.
Students will be active for at least a part of each day. Some days will include activities such as hiking, wading in wetlands or streams, or standing outside for lessons. We will take regular breaks, but students are expected to be prepared for outdoor lessons in a variety of conditions (heat, cold, light rain, wind).
Students will not have access to electronic devices apart from designated times during the program. Students will be within close distance of emergency responders and emergency medical facilities, however there is not a full time medical professional on-site. Families will have a contact number to reach their student in the case of an emergency.
Our staff lives on site and is available to the students 24 hours a day for support and supervision.
Prospective students must apply for admission. When evaluating applications, the Admissions Review Committee looks for academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, social maturity, self-motivation and a readiness for participation in an independent academic environment.
Applicants will be notified by email to log into their Student Portal to view their admission decision once it has been made. Admission decisions are usually made within ten business days of receipt of a complete application.
Accepted students must confirm their attendance by submitting a $300 non-refundable program deposit. Students attending more than one program must submit a $300 non-refundable deposit for each program. Students will not be able to enroll in courses until a program deposit is received.
Student and parents are encouraged to review our Policies page to learn about important payment deadlines, refunds, code of conduct, and more.
Brown University Pre-College programs welcome applications from international students. Learn about English language proficiency requirements, Immigration Guidelines, Deadlines for Submitting Documentation, How to Apply for a Visa, and more on our International Students page.Apply Now