"What will be the focus of your research?" local organic agriculture expert Judy Brenner asked 41 seniors who were presented with Global & Environmental Studies Certificates on Tuesday. "What kinds of information are we going to learn from you in the next 20 years?"
Ms. Brenner, who teaches science and farming at Auerfarm in Bloomfield, Conn., and runs the Jessie's Community Garden project for the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, was the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony and certificate presentation organized by the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies.
Ms. Brenner, who has a bachelor's degree in biology and conservation from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and more than 30 years of experience in organic farming and beekeeping in the United States and abroad, spoke with the student honorees about her studies and career. There is still much we don't know about the effects of chemicals used in commercial pesticides and fertilizers that promote growth, she said, urging the students to pursue some of these questions in the next steps of their education. Ms. Brenner also fielded questions from the honorees about how organic farming compares to traditional commercial farming and the possible effects of both approaches to farming on the environment, resources, communities, and human health.
After Ms. Brenner's talk in Gilchrist Auditorium, the students walked outside to the school gardens, where Gratia Lee, director of the Loomis Agricultural Program, invited each student to plant a seed in the Ag Program's strawberry patch.
The students re-assembled in Gilchrist Auditorium where Alec McCandless, the Christopher H. Lutz Director of the Alvord Center, congratulated them on earning Global & Environmental Studies Certificates and encouraged them to remain curious as they seek to broaden their global knowledge. He also encouraged them to think of earning the certificates as a beginning, rather than a completion, of their journey to lifelong learning.
The seniors honored at the ceremony successfully achieved the requirements for the certificate, which include completion of at least five Loomis Chaffee courses with the global studies designation; language study through the fourth-year level; participation in an off-campus program of two weeks or longer; involvement in Loomis extracurricular activities with international, multicultural, or environmental focuses; participation in the Global & Environmental Studies Seminar; and presentation of a final paper or project. In addition to the senior recipients, approximately 99 juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are working toward the certificates by the time they graduate.
The 2017 Global & Environmental Certificate recipients are: