The curriculum of the City & Lake Semester is integrated, emergent, and linked to real-world issues. This means that no two semesters are the same.
- We typically use a systems thinking framework to study Burlington’s many systems (e.g. housing, transportation, economy, government, food, energy) and identify key challenges and leverage points for change.
- We identify project opportunities that address real community needs and work alongside adult partners to achieve real impact.
- Students pursue a series of independent Inquiry projects that stem from their curiosity and connect to core program themes.
- We interact with a diverse group of community partners who share a range of perspectives on current issues.
- Each cohort typically pursues a culminating art project and presents it to a public audience.
Some memorable projects have included:
- Marking a new nature trail through Burlington’s Intervale and consulting with Burlington Wildways partners on ways to improve equitable access to the City’s natural areas.
- Consulting with City officials on Burlington’s first-ever Equity Report.
- Providing youth input to the renovation of the Moran Plant on Burlington’s waterfront.
- Making a video about racial justice in Burlington.
- Completing a native species restoration and climate resilience tree-planting with Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department
- Restoring reptile habitat at Delta Park
- Collecting data on microplastic contamination at North Beach with the Rozalia Project.
- Representing youth voice in a global sustainability network.
- Consulting with Public Works and private consultants on the redesign of Main Street.
- Creating original podcasts about business and education in Burlington.
- Convening a session with nine different community partners, representing seven organizations, to explore the future of the Urban Reserve.
We have also collaborated with artists to produce:
- a community light show
- a series of large-scale portraits
- a story slam
- a sculpture installation
- a mural
- an immersive theater performance
- a series of zines
- a podcast, and more!
Through these projects and many more in the future, we aspire to positively impact the Burlington community, turning learning into legacy.