Bennington College gets nearly $300K for new environmental fellowship

Bennington County
Student takes a water sample from a stream

College intern Zane Beall collects water from an urban stream as research into the presence of tiny, destructive New Zealand mudsnails Wash., 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) — Bennington College will receive a four-year grant of $290,000 to launch an environmental fellowship. The new fellowship would affirm Bennington’s commitment to its students and environmental causes.

Once established, the Endeavor Foundation Environmental Changemaker Fellowship will fund nonprofit internships focused on environmental justice for Bennington students, combining hands-on experience in the field with faculty mentorships and a solid academic curriculum.

Bennington—the only college requiring students to spend a term each year working—is known for a teaching method that prioritizes independent student learning through action.

The fellowship would represent “a natural extension of Bennington’s distinctly experiential approach to learning and our commitment to empowering students in their pursuit of solutions to the world’s most pressing problems,” said Interim President Isabel Roche.

School officials will select a pilot cohort for the fellowship program this summer before formally launching in January 2021 during the annual Field Work Term, when students take on a six-week internship.

Although over 60% of Bennington students intern at nonprofits during Field Work Term, only 16% of those are paid positions. This financial barrier, a frequent issue of social inequality in the academy, limits the potential opportunities available to low-income students.

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