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Enviromental program approved for fall Justice Brandeis Semester

Published: February 12, 2010
Section: News


The Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) Committee and JBS program manager Alyssa Grinberg have approved one program for the fall semester. The environmental field semester will allow students to gain hands-on experience in stewardship of land and natural resources as well as gain in-depth knowledge into how law, ecology and history interact in the real world.

The program will take the group of approximately 15 students on several field trips throughout the semester. One field trip is to Vermont to explore old-growth forests, glacial bogs, large-scale forest conservation, sustainable forestry, sustainable farming and more land use history. Other trips will be to Appleton Farm and Crane Beach in Ipswich, Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, downtown Boston to learn about the history of the lower Charles River and Boston Harbor, and a tour of the Food Project in Dorchester.

The environmental field semester has been taught by these professors before as a single course and has a proven track record of success with students going on to careers in land conservation and stewardship due to their extensive course work and experience. Students will receive four grades and 16 credits for the semester, which will factor into their GPA. Details regarding the exact classes and what university requirements they can be used for are found on the JBS Web site.

The program will be housed almost entirely off-campus in Waltham and surrounding areas. Due to JBS program regulations, all students will be required to live off-campus for the fall semester. Students will have access to financial aid including the ability to take out loans for housing even though they will be living off campus, Dean of Student Financial Services Peter Giumette said.

There are no prerequisites to the program, although a background and knowledge base in environmental studies is expected. The application deadline for this JBS is March 15. Unlike other JBS programs, this program requires students to personally meet with professors teaching the semester before being accepted.

Prof. Brian Donahue (AMST) and Prof. Dan Pearlman (BIO), who will be teaching the JBS, would like to accept the first round of students by March 6 and hope to accept all of the students before the housing lottery takes place, Donahue said.

“We understand that taking the housing into consideration, it makes the program a bit more difficult [for students] then in the past and we understand students concerns, but we hope to accept them quickly so that they have enough time to find suitable housing,” said Donahue. The Department of Community Living can advise students in the process of finding off-campus housing but they cannot serve as a realtor, Grinberg said.