University of Vermont

GreenHouse Residential Learning Community

Ecology of Place – NR 15

GreenHouse provides first time residents with an array of opportunities for a meaningful and productive transition to life in our residential learning community. We believe that a rich appreciation of the environmental attributes of UVM, the surrounding landscapes of Vermont, and the ecological principles that shape those landscapes, will provide a strong foundation for the variety of academic pursuits of GreenHouse members.

To accomplish this goal, all first time GreenHouse residents are required to enroll in Ecology of Place during the fall.  As this is a self-paced course, there is no weekly class meeting time. Instead, students generally have the opportunity to select from a "menu" of offerings to fulfill their learning objectives.


Ecology of Place unfolds in four distinct phases:

Phase I

Phase I of the course consists of virtual presentations and face-to-face discussions facilitated by GreenHouse student leaders and program staff. These events take place both online via our organization’s Blackboard site or during the evenings in one of the GreenHouse community spaces (Rm. 133, 9, or 27) at University Heights South. These activities explore the notion of place at three scales:

  • GreenHouse Program and Community
  • GreenHouse Facility and Ecological Design
  • The Landscape of the Winooski River Watershed

In addition to these three topics, Phase I includes numerous field trip opportunities, culminating in an annual GreenHouse Harvest Celebration at the Monitor Barn in Richmond. By the end of Phase I, students are required to craft a 500-word, integrative reflective essay.

Phase II

During Phase II, we invite a diversity of environmental professionals, scholars, and community members to provide a wide range workshops, field trips, presentations, and discussions for GreenHouse residents.  These events are generally offered during evenings and on weekends.

During this phase of the course, students are expected to attend an average of one event each week.  They do not all have to be GreenHouse-sponsored events; we encourage students to become involved in environmentally-related programs and activities that are happening around campus and the greater Burlington area.  For each event, students are asked to make a 200-300 word posting to the community Blackboard site.

Phase III

During Phase III, students reflect on the semester and develop action plans for the spring semester, which they articulate in 500-word postings to Blackboard. During this time students have the opportunity to meet in small groups with a GreenHouse staff member, and develop a plan for achieving their own learning objectives the following semester. They are also encouraged to participate in an online survey in which they have an opportunity to express their reactions to the course.

Phase IV

At the conclusion of the fall semester, students are assigned an S-P (Satisfactory Progress) or U-P (Unsatisfactory Progress). Once they have demonstrated that they have implemented their action plan during the spring semester, they receive a letter grade for the course.

Last modified February 15 2015 09:43 AM

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