For Accepted Students

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Alaska

I. A Note from the BELL Program Director

Congratulations! We are looking forward to your participation in this unique and engaging program. Please review this carefully with your family and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. Please do NOT finalize travel arrangements or submit final payment for the program until you receive an email from Brown confirming this program.

II. Next Steps for BELL: Alaska

You will soon receive a personalized email outlining a checklist of items that need to be completed for you to attend the program. Forms include sections for both students and parents to complete. You can also expect to receive emails with instructions for how to activate your Brown account, pay your balance online, and complete an online tutorial that reviews Brown’s values and policies.

You must complete the following forms to participate in BELL:

  • Off-Campus Programs Student Acceptance and Release and Waiver Form
  • Medical Authorization Form
  • Medical and Immunization Medical Report — Requires a medical provider signature.
  • Off Campus Dietary Form
  • Glacier Waiver
  • Travel Itinerary

If applicable:

  • Students with significant food allergies or intolerance should complete a complete a Disability Accommodations or Services Request Form. Along with this form, students may need to submit documentation of their area of disability and needs. More information can also be found on the SEAS Website under "School of Professional Studies (SPS) Programs".

Please Read: Important Health Advisory

Due to recent measles outbreaks within the United States, all Pre-College students must have completed their measles vaccinations at least two weeks prior to starting their program. For other immunizations requiring more than one inoculation (such as hepatitis B and varicella), you must submit proof that you have begun the series and had as many of the inoculations (shots) as possible within the time frame/schedule specified on the Brown Immunization and Medical History Report. In this case, you are considered to be in compliance with the requirements for the current summer term.

Mandatory Online Program Orientation

There are two online program orientations for you and a parent so the BELL: Alaska staff can review important program information and give you an opportunity to ask questions. Even if you cannot attend the live events, please register at the links below so that you can receive a recording of the webinars for review at your convenience. To participate in these orientations, you will need access to a computer or smartphone (download the GoToWebinar app). No webcam necessary.

General BELL Orientation
DATE: Wednesday, May 8 at 6pm EST

Pre-Departure Orientation
DATE: Wednesday, July 3 at 5pm EST

Pre-program Assignments

Any pre-program reading assignments will be sent out via email on or before June 21.

III. Arrival and Departure Day Details

Program Dates: Sunday, July 28 – Saturday, August 10, 2019

Airport: Anchorage International Airport (IATA: ANC)

Arrival – Sunday, July 28 between 11:00am and 3:00pm Alaska Standard Time (AKST)*

Departure – Saturday, August 10 between 12:00pm and 4:00pm Alaska Standard Time (AKST)*

*Please contact a program advisor at (401) 863­–7900 or before making a reservation if your flight falls outside of these time frames.

Airport Pick-Up and Drop-Off

Brown University staff will meet students in the Anchorage International Airport at baggage claim during the arrival window (11am – 3pm ASKT). Staff will be wearing “Brown University” t-shirts. Once everyone has arrived, the group will transfer to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

Please contact a program advisor at (401) 863-7900 or if you anticipate that you will arrive outside of our arrival window (11am – 3pm). On July 28, BELL staff will only be at the airport to meet students during the arrival window (11am – 3pm) unless we are made aware of the need for a special accommodation.

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

Once you have confirmed your flights, please submit the travel itinerary form. This form will be sent to you in your checklist email.

If your flight is delayed

If you experience a delay while traveling to Anchorage, please call or text Brown’s On-site Director at (401) 323–8498 with your new arrival time. Please note: This number will not be active until a few days before the program starts.

Please note: This number will not be active until a few days before the program starts.

Unaccompanied Minors

Airline, bus, and train company policies and services regarding unaccompanied minors vary. If you plan to use this service provided by your transportation carrier, please contact us in advance so we can discuss its feasibility. There may be instances when we are unable to fulfill the required protocols.

IV. Packing List

Important Packing Tips:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Bring clothing that are easily washable or that you do not mind getting dirty.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Required items:

  • 1 suitcase or duffle bag for all items. If you can’t carry it, it is too big/heavy
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 bath towel
  • Reusable water bottle
  • 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 not required; shoes may get muddy/dirty)
  • Sleepwear
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants and/or leggings (quick-dry material preferred) (2 – 4 pairs)
  • Shorts (3 – 5 pairs)
  • Polar fleece and/or warm layers
  • Long sleeve shirts (2 – 3 for layering)
  • T-shirts
  • Warm hat
  • Good rain gear (both rain jacket and rain pants)
  • 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
  • Small flashlight
  • Toothbrush and toiletries (we recommend using small sample sizes that can be purchased at drug stores or using items provided by hotels)

Recommended items:

  • Light gloves
  • Antihistamines (such as calamine lotion, Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl for inevitable mosquito bites)
  • Pillow (or to reduce bulk, bring a pillow case and stuff it with clothes)
  • Bug Repellant
  • Phone charger
  • Plastic bags to store wet or dirty items
  • Camera

What not to bring

Students should not bring laptops, iPads, e-readers, or other valuable electronics as there will be no secure location to store them. Students are prohibited from bringing illegal drugs, alcohol, and weapons of any sort, including pocket or Swiss army knives.

Will I be able to do laundry?

Laundry machines will be available at Kenai Peninsula College (days 8 – 13 of the program). Students should still pack enough clothing for all days of the program.

V. Program Information (FAQ)

Where do we stay?

We will be sleeping in college dorms most nights where students will be housed with 1 to 7 other students of the same gender. Our hosts will be University of Alaska Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula College–Kenai River Campus, and a hotel in Anchorage (for the last night of the program). Students will have access to community or shared bathrooms.

For three nights at the Peterson Bay Field Station, we 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. This facility does not have showers.

What time is 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 10:00pm, 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.

What is the Action Plan?

At BELL, we help our students define the issues that they are passionate about and construct an Action Plan to address them. We work with you to set realistic goals, identify mentors and resource people, and anticipate challenges. Students participate in leadership and public speaking workshops in preparation for a five-minute Action Plan presentation at the end of the BELL session.

We encourage you to think about some potential Action Plan topics before you come to BELL, but most students don't actually know what their Action Plan will be until they start working on it at BELL. Your instructors will help you design an Action Plan that fits your interests and skills.

Examples of BELL Student Action Plans:

  • Received a grant to install solar panels on a High School
  • Developed composting systems or recycling programs
  • Constructed a wind turbine at school
  • Eliminated Styrofoam in county buildings
  • Published an educational article in an online teen magazine
  • Coordinated an e-waste collection
  • Implemented Meatless Mondays in a school cafeteria

How much homework should I expect?

There is no homework in this program.

How many students are there?

You can expect around 30 students at BELL, usually slightly more females than males. BELL students come from all over the U.S. and world, and range from 10th grade to graduated seniors.

How much money should I bring?

Accommodations and meals are 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.

How often can I use my cell phone?

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.

To contact us in an emergency, parents may call the On-site Director at 401-323-8326. Please note: this number will not be active until a few days before the program starts.

Health and Wellness

Can you accommodate food preferences and allergies?

We will be glad to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and allergies, but please let us know well in advance of the program’s start date so that we can inform all relevant parties.

Students that require meal accommodations due to significant food allergies (e.g. nuts, gluten, shellfish, soy, eggs, milk) must inform us of these needs on the Disability Accommodations or Services Request Form. Otherwise, please indicate dietary preferences, including vegetarians and vegans, on the Dietary Concerns Form (located in your checklist) in order to allow us to plan accordingly.

What if I take prescription medication or need medical attention?

Students’ prescription medications will be collected by the On-Site Director or his/her designee on the first day of the program. Students must be responsible for requesting and taking prescribed dosage. Students with life-saving asthma and anaphylaxis medications (e.g., inhalers and Epi-pens) must keep them on their person at all times. All students who are taking prescription medications should bring prescribed medication in the original container, and a copy of their prescription and give it to the On-site Director. Having a copy of the original prescription will enable us to replace medication if needed.

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 from a hospital. For minor problems, we have a well-equipped first aid kit with all staff certified in first aid.

VI. Policies

Code of Conduct

Please review the Brown Pre-College Code of Conduct.

Financial Information

The payment deadline for the program is Wednesday, May 22. Students must be paid in full PRIOR to the start of the program. Please review our financial policies, including payment and refund information.


Students will receive a Course Performance Report, written by program staff and will also be asked to complete a course evaluation. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion. All completion materials including the evaluation will be sent 6 weeks after the program concludes. The certificate will be sent via US Mail but other items will be sent electronically to the student email we have on file.

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