(In the photo above, Boston’s Harvard Square becomes an outdoor classroom for students to ponder how public art impacts communities.)
Here at Longwood, we think nothing fits the description “experience of a lifetime” better than our Brock Experiences. This academic program takes students to locations throughout the United States to ponder and explore important issues of the day—all the while learning skills they can apply in their future careers.
Four programs will be offered in 2020, two of which still have spaces available. I’ve been told the Boston program is filling up quickly; applications for Yellowstone will be accepted through about mid-March.
However, applications are accepted throughout the year and are handled on a rolling basis. So if your student wants to take advantage of this opportunity this year or next, there’s no time like the present to submit an application.
The programs scheduled for 2020 are
—The Future of Puerto Rico, June 21-July 2 (filled)
—Water Access: Colorado River, May 25-June 6 (filled)
—Art and Culture: Boston, June 8-16
—Stewardship of Public Lands: Yellowstone, May 12-21
Other programs on the Brock Experiences roster that may be offered next year include
—Chesapeake Bay Stewardship
—Immigration: Arizona and Richmond, Virginia
Enrollment in Brock Experiences, which students take for academic credit, is kept relatively small, ranging from nine spots in the Colorado River program to about 40 for Yellowstone. Faculty members plan the curriculum for each course and accompany students to the study location, guiding them as they consider critical questions such as
—“Who owns water and how should it be used?”
—“How do the arts and humanities improve communities and enhance our understanding of our own roles as citizens?”
—“What are the responsibilities of the United States to its territories like Puerto Rico?”
—“How do we best manage our diverse natural landscape?”
In addition to the work they do while “on location,” students complete assignments when they return to campus.
Brock Experiences Director Josh Blakely emphasizes that the programs include “rigorous academic work” and are not field trips or a sightseeing tour.
“A Brock Experience is a transformative learning opportunity that will open students’ eyes to the ways people can work together to tackle complex problems in the world,” he said. “We’ve seen students come alive as a result of these courses, finding areas they’re passionate about and ways to enhance their future careers.”
Dr. Alix Fink, Wilma Register Sharp and Marc Boyd Sharp Dean of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars, heads up the Yellowstone program, which has been active at Longwood for 15 years. It was folded into the Brock Experiences when the program was created in 2016 with a $5.9 million gift from Joan ’64 and Macon Brock.
“These aren’t fun trips to some cool place,” said Fink. “Students come away more prepared to have challenging conversations, to ask difficult questions and to talk with fellow citizens whose view are very different from their own.
“Not only are those skills one uses in the workplace, but they are the very skills that citizens need to address challenges in our community.”
Costs vary by program, with the program fee covering housing in the field, transportation once the student arrives at the location, many meals and educational activities. The fee for the Boston program, for example, is $750. Students are responsible for their transportation to the program location and spending money.
Scholarships are available based on demonstrated financial need.
More information on Brock Experiences: http://www.longwood.edu/academics/brock-experiences/
Program applications: http://www.longwood.edu/academics/brock-experiences/
Separate scholarship application: https://longwood.academicworks.com