Seniors Earn Global & Environmental Studies Certificates

Loomis Chaffee’s Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies this week honored 33 seniors who earned Global & Environmental Studies Certificates, a special designation that accompanies their diplomas.

The certificates recognize the students’ multi-year commitment to growing their understanding of global and environmental concerns and engaging in programs to address these matters.

“It has been a joy to see students make stronger connections between local, global, and environmental issues and to gain a more sound understanding of how they can leverage their interests to find avenues by which to create positive change,” said Meg Stoecklin, associate director of the Alvord Center.

To earn a certificate, a student must complete at least five courses with a global and environmental designation in at least three academic departments, take a year-long World History class, and advance in foreign language study to the fourth-year level or beyond. Other requirements include involvement in a group or activity and an educational travel program with international, multicultural, or environmentally-oriented focuses; engagement in Global and Environmental Studies Seminars during the junior and senior years; and completion of an Online Portfolio and a capstone project.

Students enrolled in the Alvord Center’s certificate program reflect and write about their learning throughout their multi-year experience. 

“It is important to think about yourself in the greater context of your community and begin grappling with the problems that face the environment and the world. In my experience, I grow and learn the most when I do just that,” wrote senior Freya Rich in her Online Portfolio summary.

“My time in the GESC program has made me grow outside my bubble and has helped me better understand those around me and their story,” reflected senior Lily Tapsoba.

With the school’s shift to distance learning this spring in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Alvord Center amended the spring requirements for the seniors, who built Online Portfolios highlighting their coursework, travel, and community engagement and chose either to complete capstone projects or to pursue additional reflective assignments for their Online Portfolios.

Capstone projects included an online photography exhibit, a comparative research paper on global education systems, and a ceramics project. Supplemental reflective assignments included a video on social distancing, a response to a COVID-19 Speaker Series webinar hosted by Loomis, and reflections on personal growth as global and environmental scholars.

Before the altered spring term, the seniors were able to engage in the four of six multidisciplinary seminars planned for the program this year: “Cultural Autobiography and Reflecting on One’s Own Identity” in collaboration with Writing Initiatives; “Citizenship, Identity, and Belonging: A Faculty & Staff Panel Discussion” in collaboration with the Norton Family Center for the Common Good; “Sustainability Design Thinking Challenge: Reducing Single-Use Plastics on Campus” in collaboration with the Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI) and the Office of Environmental Sustainability; and “Activism and Intentionality: Foundations for Taking Action” in collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

View a sampling of 2020 senior Online Portfolios and capstone projects below:

Members of the Class of 2020 earning certificates:

Arjun Ahilan

Bree Bergeron

Alice Chen

Valerie Chu

Daniel Cohen

Calabria Defazio

Laine Duncan

Duarte Gordon

Mia Griffiths

Arjun Grover

Jessica Hinton

Amaia Ince

Portia Inzone

Ryan Jones

Grace Keller

Kavya Kolli

Emily Lent

Emma Macdonald

Olivia Malcolmson

Griffen Malkin

Sadie Olcott

Michelle Park

Thea Porter

Freya Rich

Kristin Santana

Anya Sastry

Jenna Stevens

Christina Stone

Lily Tapsoba

Caroline Thompson

Emma Tishler

Alexa Valadez

Liles Wall