Bard envisions the liberal arts institution as the hub of a network, rather than a single, self-contained campus. Numerous institutes for special study are available on and off campus, connecting Bard students to the greater community.
The Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. In an age of information overload, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically and be actively engaged with issues affecting public life.
The College is dedicated to addressing contemporary environmental challenges and committed to providing educational reform in the sciences. In 2011, Bard introduced the Citizen Science program (see page 19), a two-and-a-half-week course required of all first-year students that promotes science literacy and introduces scientific methods by looking at a particular issue from different approaches. Program participation includes the opportunity to teach in one of five local school districts; last year Bard students taught more than 2,000 local pupils.
Other innovative programs include the Bard MBA in Sustainability and master of science programs in environmental policy and in climate science and policy; a public health concentration; and partnerships with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and New York City’s Rockefeller University. Plans include the creation of an institute that addresses the teaching of science. The campus community also is actively involved in efforts to reduce energy, recycle, preserve the campus’s landscape and biodiversity, and work with local organizations on various energy and environmental concerns.
Campus to Congress (C2C) C2C and the National Climate Seminar are public policy initiatives of Bard’s Center for Environmental Policy. Their goals are to directly engage students at Bard and at colleges and high schools across the country with leaders in Congress, corporations, and city halls on issues of climate change and clean energy; move U.S. policy forward; and accelerate the learning curve for a cohort of students that must coalesce into a leadership generation. Training workshops, video dialogues, and conference calls on climate and sustainability topics provide students with unique educational opportunities and also serve to voice the concerns of students across the nation.
10-Percent Challenge The 10 Percent Challenge, a project of Red Hook Together, is a call to the community to reduce its annual energy consumption by 10 percent. The program provides information on composting, tree planting, changing transportation habits, building green, auditing home energy use, recycling, reusing items through swap and thrift shops, and shopping locally. For more information, go to redhookchallenge.org.
Student-led Science and Sustainability Projects Recent TLS projects and other student initiatives include the Bard Biodiesel Collective, Bard College Farm, Bard Community Garden, Bard Science Outreach, Bike Exchange, Eco-Discoverers, Free Use Thrift Store, Green Pages, Math Circle, Permaculture Initiative, and the Young Artists of Rhinebeck Project, which helps middle school students explore environmental issues through drawing and sculpture.