A Sense of Place

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All Sterling College students take classes that help foster relationships with each other, explore the land and communities around Sterling College, and explore the rugged landscape of Vermont.

A Sense of Place

First year students begin their Sterling career with a two-week intensive called A Sense of Place. The course is an introduction to the ecology, society, and culture of northern New England. Classes include botany, human history, land- use practices, and visits to local artists and farms. Students participate in outdoor challenge activities and small group work, learn about establishing norms of social conduct, build community, and initiate conversations about what it means to live sustainably.

Experiential Education: Bounder and Expedition

First year and transfer students also take Experiential Education I—nicknamed “Bounder”—where they learn advanced outdoor skills such as shelter and fire building. Bounder culiminates with the Winter Expedition—a 50 year Sterling tradition. Expedition is a four-day, three-night trek in December undertaken by students, with faculty guides. Expeditioners climb Mt. Bigelow and along the ridge of the nearby Lowell Mountain Range.

Read more about 50 years of Expedition

A Sense of Place is more than just a two-week intensive or an Expedition, however. It is linked to our deeper belief in place-based education. Place-based education is rooted in the local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place. Our community is one of our greatest laboratories, and we maximize the opportunities to explore our surrounding environment. Being rooted in place allows us to work with both our hands and our minds, and lets Sterling students have a foundation in community living and work to build upon after graduation.

Some other features of our campus include: