Environmental Studies 499: Senior Seminar – Bee City Support for the Town of Berlin and City of Salisbury

Fall 2018

Building upon the work of the spring 2018 seminar class, students Senior Seminar (Fall 2018) worked with the Town of Berlin and the City of Salisbury to support Bee City USA programming.

Students created the following documents for presentation and distribution:

Class Members

  • Megan Buonpane
  • Terri Gladus
  • Corey Gwin
  • Michael Hersberger
  • Andrew Hurley
  • Brian (Dean) Keh
  • Casey King
  • Jenna Murphy
  • Wesley Myrer
  • Emily Sperling
  • Maddi Workman

Course Description

ENVR 499: The senior seminar capstone course is the culminating experience of the Environmental Studies Program. In this course, you will be asked to develop a response to a real-world environmental topic, from the analysis of its background and present situation to a proposed or actual solution. This course is interdisciplinary – drawing upon the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences – as well as experiential. As part of the course, you will at times be required to work on your own, and at other times in small teams. Besides this capstone project, a second element of the course is a weekly discussion of environmental topics in the news, preparing you to apply your classroom preparation to contemporary civic discourse. A third element of the course involves developing your professional skills – resume building, job hunting, and conceptualizing your future. As such, you will occasionally be asked to attend out-of-class presentations throughout the semester, and the job fair.

The capstone experience for this senior seminar explores the economic, social, political, ecological, and physical aspects of communities. Imagine a “sustainable” community. Is it an ecovillage, full of backyard gardens, vegan food co-ops, and bike paths outnumbering streets for cars? Or, is it a hyper-automated, sleek city of self-driving pods, high tech solar and wind energy collectors, and vertical city farms? Or, is it none of the above? While we likely can picture a sustainable society, this vision may or may not make sense with our political, social, cultural, and economic arrangements. It is therefore essential to consider how we think about sustainability today, and how we might work towards a sustainable future. This senior seminar prepares and empowers students to become active community members, putting vision into practice, by exploring community sustainability on a local level.

Civic Engagement Project Description

Building upon the work of Spring 2018 Senior Seminar, your class will work with two sites – the Town of Berlin and the City of Salisbury to support the implementation of the Bee City USA requirements. To do so, you will work with employees and offices of the Town and City, relevant stakeholder groups, and residents. You will present your final results at the Berlin Town Council meeting on December 10th and to the City of Salisbury and the Environmental Studies Department on December 11th.

Overall Civic Engagement Project Goals:

  • Develop an understanding of the theories and practices of environmental programming implementation
  • Understand and evaluate the role of government, businesses, community members, and other stakeholders in the local context
  • Get to know a local community with the overall goal of preparing for future engagement in one’s own community
  • Understand and navigate environmental justice concerns on the community level
  • Create a plan and give a successful presentation