- About Bard
- Campus Life
- News & Events
Shireen is a freshman at Bard. She is interested in urban planning, environmental justice, nutrition, and human rights. She has elected to take courses on environmental politics in east asia, modern architecture, and environmental science. Outside of class, Shireen co-organizes the EUS Film Series which hosts screenings and discussions of documentaries and films related to the program. She also works on the Bard Farm to produce fresh, local food for campus dining services and is part of the Bard Food Reform program, which seeks to support local farms and ensure the availability of sustainable food on campus. Shireen first became interested in the EUS program during a gap year during which she traveled and worked in Himachal Pradesh and Bangalore, India. In Himachal Pradesh, (where toting a plastic bag is against federal law) Shireen taught English at an elementary school in a village of subsistence farmers at the base of the Himalayan mountains. She says that the elementary school students she worked with confirmed her passion for teaching and peaked her interest in sustainable farming and living practices. "Although most of my students' parents were illiterate, they had so much knowledge about the ecology of their environment, their food and water, their waste management, the consequences of urbanization ... more than I'd ever been exposed to in school." Shireen also worked for an urban planning NGO called Janaagraha in Bangalore which is an emerging megacity in southern India. Working for Janaagraha exposed her to the way the government in India is responding to the nation's sudden growth in development and population. She conducted research on the transport systems, land zoning laws, and planning theories of cities around the world. The research is currently being used to develop a master plan for Bangalore that will begin to be implemented within the next year. "It gave me an idea of how linked everything is: politics, architecture and planning, access to education and healthcare. The basic planning and design of a city really shapes its culture. My short term goal is to gain an understanding of what a sustainable city will look like. My long term goal is to build as many as possible, as soon as possible."
Isaac is currently a freshman at Bard College. His interests lie in policy surrounding food and fracking. He believes younger people should have more of a say in the way the American food system is shaped. Graduating from a rigorous two year environmental studies program in high school gave Isaac a clear picture of his career goals. "But getting to those goals -- that's why I'm at Bard. Everyone should have the right to real food and good water. Food, water, soil, nitrogen, carbon systems: everything is linked. Having the scientific knowledge makes it easier to understand the larger picture but I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the issues and their interrelationships. Plus, I'm looking forward to working internships in the city."
Isaac has already worked with Charity Water in the past, presenting the political and environmental issues surrounding water to his classmates in high school and fundraising money for the charity. He has also worked in New Orleans, repairing and painting homes, where he learned first hand about the degradation of the wetlands, the infrastructure of levies, and the energy costs of the city. Isaac hopes to pursue Bard Center for Environmental Policy's 3+2 program through which qualified Bard undergraduates can earn an M.S. in environmental policy or climate science in an accelerated period of time.
Tom is currently completing his sophomore year at Bard College. He is primarily interested in the social sciences, and says that his work at Bard thus far has been focused on the various ways humanity can sustain itself through what he calls "responsible stewardship practices" in farming, fishing, and hunting. He is currently enrolled in classes that explore environmental science, history, ethics, and architecture. Though he was originally interested in practicing law, Tom came to Bard in order to continue exploring the ways in which humans structure their developments in relation to the environment. "What I like most about Bard's EUS program," he says. "Is its flexibility. EUS, as an interdisciplinary major, fits perfectly with Bard's moderation system and my hope, when I moderate, is that this system will help me to identify and define my particular areas of interest as well direct me towards the classes that will help me reach my goals. I love that the EUS program accommodates such a wide range of interests and this diversity, reflected in class discussions, has broadened my overall perspective."
Tom has been both a student and teacher of wilderness education, studying Native American traditions and practices. This education involved fire making, shelter building, and food hunting or gathering. More recently, Tom has taken initiative to get involved with local food production. He spent last summer working at Taft Farms, a 200 acre IPM farm in Great Barrington, MA, where he learned about farming techniques, agricultural marketing, and was exposed to the intricacies of the American industrial food system. This has led him to his interest in faming practices and philosophies. Tom is also the proud founder and owner of a small portabello and button mushroom growing operation that he started in order to learn about mushroom cultivation and to "experience first-hand the way small growers fit into our food system."
"In addition, my free time allowed me to pursue my interests in apiculture (or beekeeping). I have been making and selling pure beeswax candles to local businesses. During intercession, my plan is to get involved with a local, community-based subsistence movement. Great Barrington uses a local currency, BerkShares, and action is being taken to use this monetary system to promote Community Supported Industry. This movement is just beginning and I am very excited for the opportunity to help my own community through what I have learned, in college and on my own ... I hope to leave Bard with a well-rounded understanding of my role in my ecosystem and my community. My dream is to use this understanding to give back to my community by helping people live sustainably, appreciate their natural surroundings, and fill their niche in the ecosystem. I believe that the impending global crises must be solved through localized solutions and I intend to bring my ideas for these solutions to my community."