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EXI519: Green Umbrella Learning Lab (GULL)

Students work in close proximity with instructors and the Green Umbrella Advisory Board to research, design and implement relevant campus sustainability projects that benefit our community.

Seminal sustainability thinker and Oberlin College professor David Orr states that "big changes start in places small enough to be innovative and agile, but large enough to be important." Exeter is just such a place and the Green Umbrella Learning Lab (GULL) is just such a space. This course affords students passionate about sustainability the opportunity to enact these "big changes" by doing real work in sustainability to help Exeter meet its Sustainability Master Plan and carbon reduction goals. Students will work in close proximity with their instructors and with the Green Umbrella Advisory Board (former SAC) to research, design, and implement relevant campus sustainability projects that benefit our community. If for example, students would like to pursue a renewable energy project, then they would work closely with the instructor(s) to craft a regimen of supplementary readings, conversations, research, site visits, and anything else that might inform students' projects and deepen their context as they deepen their learning. Students will engage with experiential, place-based, interdisciplinary problem solving requiring a confluence of skills they have been building throughout their Exeter careers. In an attempt to promote dialogue within our broader community, an additional component of this course will require students to collaborate with a team of peers from Exeter High School to design and carry out an additional, appropriately-scaled sustainability project beyond our campus boundaries within the town of Exeter. Students will keep a detailed reflective journal about their work, submit a thorough project self-reflection, and give a formal demonstration of learning to a panel of faculty, staff and community members. Project ideas will be far-reaching, but might include a plan to establish dorm composting; the design and implementation of a learning greenhouse on campus; the design of a net-zero building; the establishment of locally-sourced beef; or a large-scale solar plan, among others. This course meets during a reserve format in order to create a double-format meeting time for weekly labs. Open to uppers and seniors.