Summer sustainability program brings high school students to CSU

Students in the first session of this year’s SoGES Sustainability Summer Program learned about mountain ecology at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy SoGES.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) at Colorado State University is in its third consecutive year of offering a multidisciplinary Pre-College Summer Sustainability Program. The program gives high school students an unparalleled opportunity to work with professors, professionals and graduate students from some of the top-ranking university-level sustainability programs and departments in the world. This eight-day program attracts students with a passion for the environment and an interest in sustainability.

As part of this program, students are given the opportunity to hike through the Rocky Mountain National Park, raft down the Cache la Poudre River, and explore research in action at CSU. The idea is to empower students with a foundational understanding of sustainability and increase their capacity to think through creative solutions, broaden global perspectives, and encourage involvement in their own community-wide efforts.

About 10 different CSU departments are involved in working with the pre-college students. During each session, the students visit the Powerhouse Energy Campus to see the university’s renowned clean-energy research; the ARDEC research station near Wellington, where they learn about soil science as well as animal sciences; the Foothills Campus to learn about atmospheric processes; Pineridge and Horsetooth reservoirs to learn about invasive species and wildfire; and Bear Lake in RMNP, to hear about snowpack and mountain ecology. They also learn about the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, international and local climate and sustainability policy, green design for the built environment and energy conservation.

Additionally, students are immersed in the rich campus environment at CSU. Paid mentors are with the students throughout the entirety of each session and ultimately led by Michael Streight.

“As I was planning the program for this summer, my excitement continued to grow,” said Streight, SoGES Sustainability Outreach Coordinator and Program Director. “I was reminded of the amazing times I had as a mentor during the program last year, and so far this summer has been an entirely new adventure.”

SoGES hosted two sessions this summer. Session I, June 23–30, attracted students from 10 states throughout the nation while Session II, July 7–14, brought in students from 12 states. Each session consistently maintains a small group of 16-18 students.

You can view their daily experiences through the CSU Pre-college Summer Sustainability Program Facebook page.

For more information on the Pre-College Summer Sustainability Program, visit the SoGes website.