The Progressive Program is a self-designed major at Green Mountain College that allows students to pursue ambitious projects while integrating academic work from several disciplines. This program allows students to truly tailor their education to their interests and needs, but unfortunately the students do not have many opportunities to get together and share their experiences. For this reason, program director Professor Jennifer Baker started the annual Progressive Program pancake breakfast at Rathbun’s Sugarhouse in Whitehall, NY.
While enjoying heaping plates of pancakes and eggs late on a Sunday morning, GMC Progressive Program students shared their interests and some information about their studies. Pursuits ranged from interdisciplinary biology, to sustainable community development, to the arts and philosophy. At the restaurant, a couple stopped and told us they had been listening to our conversations and were inspired by our ideas and passion. This enthusiasm for learning and creating positive change is one of the characteristics of a Progressive Program student.
I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Progressive Program in the second semester of my freshman year. I was embarking on a study abroad trip to Italy, which gave me an added challenge of tying together everything I wanted to study. I finally decided to pursue a traditional degree in Secondary Education, using my exemptions from taking electives to incorporate agriculture into my program. As a senior I am currently working on a project that will bring together my degree in education with agriculture through a collection of “farm-based education” lesson plans that adhere to Common Core State Standards for social studies. I am so grateful to have had the chance to participate in this program, which encouraged me to be highly reflective and critical about my education at all times. This last get-together was bittersweet, as I am going to miss my time at GMC but I am incredibly excited and proud to see the ideas and passion of my younger classmates.
Written by Alison E. Putnam