Environmental Certificate Program

Why would a student want to pursue a Penn Charter certificate in Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability? Or in Global Studies?

After all, the certificate programs require diligence and concentrated work: three semesters of coursework, three major projects, 80 hours of activity credit, and an 80-hour Senior Comprehensive capstone project. Students begin the work as juniors and finish at the end of senior year with the presentation of their Senior Comp.

In Ariel Takle’s case, one of the answers is curiosity. “I am really interested in endangered species. Why are some species endangered and how to help them?”

Ariel, a junior, is one of four students enrolled in the environmental certificate program PC introduced this year; next year the Upper School will roll out the Global Studies certificate.

Inspired by the Strategic Vision, the certificate programs provide motivated students a new opportunity to dive deep to explore complex issues on a subject they feel passionate about and, while doing that, hone critical thinking skills, learn valuable research skills, and cultivate their ability to communicate in writing and before a live audience.

“By combining courses, projects, and their Senior Comp, these students are engaged in activities here in school and out in the world that fit with their individual interest and pressing environmental issues,” according to Tom Rickards, Upper School religion teacher and coordinator of PC environmental programs. “They are demonstrating real passion and academic strength,” he said.

They are also students who want to have an impact. Said junior Hadley Ball: “I have always held a passion for the environment, and now, as we are increasingly confronted with the warning signals of climate change, I find the need to make headway on environmental sustainability especially pressing.”