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About the Adirondack Semester

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Entering the park

The Adirondack Semester is a 15-credit off-campus domestic study program for undergraduates pursuing an experience that is enriching both academically and culturally. Students from any major who are committed to learn about environmental science, policy, economics and the human history and contemporary issues of the Adirondack Region are encouraged to apply.

The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous states and is referred to as a great experiment in conservation and regulated economic development. Our mission is to deliver a blend of traditional and experiential education sprung forth from the struggle in our Park to find balance and sustainability. Students residing at Paul Smith's College, near Saranac Lake, NY, participate in an interdisciplinary curriculum geared towards cultivating practical skills for the professional world. Our curriculum employs components of experiential education, undergraduate research, collaborative assignments and projects, writing-intensive courses, learning communities, common intellectual experiences and community-based learning. Students’ acquire content knowledge to analyze complex problems related to environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Students accepted in this program will learn from Clarkson faculty, all of whom are distinguished scholars who have worked in the Adirondacks. Students will be in session with Adirondack Park leaders, policy makers, residents and business owners and learn from peers in mentored team projects. Focus is on the Adirondack Park’s social and natural sciences: its expansive wilderness, residents, governing agencies, economics, organizations and businesses that shape policies and commerce.

Diving at Cascade Lake

Our Adirondack Center for Education and Sustainability, beginning in Fall 2017, will be housed at Paul Smith's College, near Saranac Lake.  A Resident Advisor/student that oversees housing and supports faculty will be on site. Students can attend a fall or spring semester that begins with a 3 week "Sense of Place" course, followed by two- 6 week blocks that run 2 courses concurrently.  The final week of the semester, students present their Integrated Research Projects back on Clarkson’s campus.  

Live a semester as a resident explorer, entrepreneur, environmental scientist, poet and policy advocate of the Adirondack Park, one of the largest protected landscapes in North America.  Become absorbed and committed, and think bigger and work harder than you ever have to create intelligent solutions in a six-million acre laboratory for wildlife, small town communities, and recreation enthusiasts alike.  

Adirondacks flickr