Outside University: 22. Green Mountain College

Poultney, Vermont

Green Mountain College.    

This school’s name and tagline (“Living the environmental liberal arts”) say it all. G.M.C. is a tiny, progressive college where a signature major is “Adventure Education.” Sample class description: “Students will learn the fundamentals of running international mountaineering expeditions during this 20-day program in the Ishinca Valley of Peru.”

Everyone here cares deeply about the future of our planet, and the curriculum strongly reflects that: Degrees are offered in environmental studies, natural-resources management, and sustainable food systems, with minors in recreation, animal studies, geology, and “therapeutic adventure.”

Tucked between the Adirondack and Green mountains, the park-like campus, though just 155 acres, manages to fit an organic farm, a ropes course, and hiking trails. Dorm residents wanting roommates with whom to head into the backcountry can choose to live on an outdoor-recreation floor.

The list of trips Green Mountain’s adventure program offers can impress even the most widely traveled  adventurer. Just this past spring semester, almost 50 journeys went out, ranging from the modest (a snowshoe day hike) to the elaborate (a week-long backcountry ski-and-snowboard trip in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park).

More locally, the Green Mountains provide some of New England’s best ski slopes, the Poultney River is dotted with popular swim holes, and G.M.C.’s rec department lends out major outdoor gear for $1 per day (among the offerings: water filters, hatchets, and crampons).

This is southern Vermont’s lakes region, so there are three tiers of for-credit scuba classes. There’s also a first-aid certification course and, for new students, the sport-spanning Wilderness Challenge, which puts kayaking, backpacking, and climbing skills to the test.

CONTACT: (800) 776-6675, greenmtn.edu
STUDENT BODY: 710 undergraduates, 81 graduates
TUITION: $29,316, room and board $10,640

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