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Meet two instructors from the Columbia Climate School at the Green Mountain Program

Meet two instructors from the Columbia Climate School at the Green Mountain Program

By Laurel Zaima-Sheehy and Christina Deodatis
|March 16, 2023

Sandra Goldmark headshot

Sandra Goldmark is Senior Assistant Dean for Climate Action for Interdisciplinary Engagement at Columbia Climate Institute and Director of Campus Sustainability and Climate Action at Barnard College. This year she will join the Green Mountain program for the first time, teaching circular economy.

This summer, we are excited to host the third annual Green Mountain Columbia Climate School This program is designed for high school students who aspire to make a positive impact in their communities in the face of climate change. This college preparatory summer program is a two-week on-campus program in Castleton, Vermont, designed to mobilize action and affect change in response to a warming planet. During the program, students network with experts at the Columbia Climate Institute and learn about cutting-edge climate solutions and innovative actions. They meet like-minded students from around the world, forge partnerships and harness collective power for action.

The Columbia Climate School in Green Mountain has enable students to acquire the necessary knowledge and the skills to develop climate action plans that they can bring to their communities.The program is nice to have Josh DeVincenzo of National Disaster Preparedness Center return for a third summer, and sandra goldmark of Columbia Climate School and barnard college Join us for the first time this summer!

Josh DeVincenzo headshot

Josh DeVincenzo is the Senior Program Coordinator and Instructional Designer for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Columbia Climate School. Josh has been a part of the Green Mountain program since its launch in summer 2021. He teaches on disaster risk reduction and climate communication strategies.

In the Q&A below, Josh and Sandra share their experiences and excitement about joining the Columbia Climate School in Green Mountain in summer 2023.

What will you teach at the Columbia Climate School in Green Mountain?

Josh: I will be teaching a few different courses on disaster risk reduction and climate communication strategies. I really enjoy teaching these topics to young people, in part because of their problem-solving ingenuity. Teaching in the climate school pre-college program over the past few years and hearing all the new ideas that young people bring to the program has been inspiring for me and my work. It was a pleasure to discuss their ideas and bring them closer to actionable steps to solve the problems and issues they care about most in the community.

sandra: I will teach about the circular economy; we will explore how we design, manufacture, distribute and dispose of ‘stuff’, and how current global production and consumption patterns affect people and the planet. We’ll discuss the impact of linear and wasteful practices, and delve into the crossover benefits of circular, sustainable alternatives.

What is the importance of engaging high school students in climate change challenges and solutions?

Josh: Particularly with regard to climate-related disaster impacts, it is critical that high school students be adequately prepared as disasters become more frequent and severe. However, it is important to focus on the methodology and generation of new ideas to help mitigate the impact of disasters on communities. Former high school students have been able to immediately begin to better prepare their communities by thinking about hazards, impacts, and how to involve multiple stakeholders.

Sandra: Today’s high school students will quickly take on climate challenges and be tasked with crafting equitable solutions. I love working with young people on these issues because they are curious, open to change and eager to start working.

What do you hope students will gain from this program?

Josh I hope that students will have a new understanding of disasters and their impact on society. I hope they develop an unbiased eye for looking at disaster events on a global scale and develop the skills to think about disaster recovery over different time periods and levels of impact. These skills help us better understand community preparedness and disaster recovery.

Sandra: I want students to understand that looping is an incredibly powerful tool – it’s now accessible and deployable at multiple scales. Circular economy principles are old and intuitive and can be implemented by individuals, schools and communities with immediate results in waste reduction and local employment. I also want students to understand how these benefits are amplified and must be part of the global climate response.

What do you hope to get out of this project?

Josh: I always get a lot of perspective on this project every summer. The students brought such wonderful experiences and fundamental questions about thinking through climate change. After each trip to Vermont, I return with some new ideas and ways to make my teaching more engaging and relevant in the field and in the classroom.

A group of students gathered outside to take pictures

“Green Mountain” Summer 2022 student cohort.

Sandra: I hope to test and improve some of the hands-on activities and exercises I’ve built.

What are you most excited about this summer?

Josh: Every summer we conduct a disaster tabletop exercise simulating how we would respond to a disaster in real time. I am so excited to see what the students have achieved this year. Last summer, we even got our first glimpse of a disaster communications strategy involving TikTok.

sandra: I hope to find ways for students to be hands-on, bring ideas they can take home to their communities, and move forward as they develop into climate leaders

Josh DeVincenzo leads students through tabletop exercises to simulate disaster response.

What do you think has been or will be the most impactful component of the program?

Josh: This program is unique. Even as a lecturer, I was overwhelmed by the lineup of other lecturers and the material put together for this program. It’s also an amazing environment that doesn’t necessarily feel like a traditional class, instead we’re all pitching ideas and exchanging ideas about the climate within the wonderful backdrop of Vermont.

sandra: I think spending time together tackling challenges, working collaboratively, and spending time outside will be one of the most important things students will experience.

learn more

Green Mountain Columbia Climate School It will be held July 2-July 14, 2023 in Castleton, Vermont. start your application and review application requirements.

Looking for climate-themed travel plans?we also provide colombia climate teamwhich combines travel with in-depth educational opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, experiences destinations through the lens of climate change, and focuses on site-specific topics:

  • chile and argentina: Climate Impacts and Risks, 22 July – 11 August 2023
  • Alaska: Climate Communication and Exploration, July 17-28, 2023
  • Iceland: Carbon Capture Technologies, July 20-August 1, 2023

Schedule a one-on-one appointment Speak with a College Prep representative at your convenience.

Join our mailing list to stay updated Available for all pre-university summer courses and academic year webinars.

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