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The Outdoor Environmental Leadership Fund

students at the Big Sink geologic site in the Blue Mountains of Oregon
Students at the "Big Sink" geologic site in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Photo by Bob Carson.

Supporting Whitman's Environmental Leadership

Two generous alumni established the Outdoor Environmental Leadership Fund in 2005. The originally stated goal of the fund was to support the development of environmental leaders by providing support to the Environmental Studies outdoor field trips and projects. Therefore, funds are available for the environmental studies regional trips, weekends of off-campus study by environmental studies students and faculty.

Funding for Special Projects, Scholarships, Excursions and More

Funds are also available to finance "special projects" related to environmental studies. For example, funds are available for students to attend environmental conferences. Since the original gift, the founders have expanded the funding goals. Examples include subsidizing participation by students on need-based scholarships in the following: "Scrambles" for new students, ES regional studies courses, Outdoor Program trips, and faculty-led excursions of an environmental nature. The term "environmental" is constrained loosely, so as to include natural history, natural resource management, and issues of social science such as environmental justice.

The founders have recently instructed the College to use the funds aggressively to help offset financial burdens students may face due to participation in environmental and outdoor activities. They added that the fund is for helping develop environmental leaders and getting Whitman students out on trips who might otherwise not be able to afford it. They summarized their intent in January 2010: "The original goal is to help develop environmental leaders at Whitman. The primary tool is financial assistance for promising leaders to participate in field trips they might not otherwise be able to afford. Outside-the-box projects (that might not otherwise have funding), helping students attend environmental conferences and other creative initiatives were also eligible for assistance. The financial strain of the recession may preclude some Whitman students from participating in Outdoor Program trips. Because we believe experiential trips are invaluable in deepening character, environmental ethics and leadership skills, the scope of the fund has been widened to include financial assistance for Outdoor Program trips. One key point is we want to help students participate on trips or projects to happen that otherwise would not. We don't want the fund to become a substitute source to tap for regular programs."

Lower Granite Dam
Lower Granite Dam, Snake River, Washington (photo by Salmon Norgaard-Stroich)

Outdoor Environmental Leadership Fund Proposals and Requests

Proposals will be solicited at least twice a year from the Environmental Studies Committee, the Outdoor Program, and student environmental groups at Whitman College. Requests should clearly state the environmental and/or outdoor and/or leadership purposes of the proposal. Alternate and/or additional sources of funds should be listed. Requests from students should have faculty (ideally an Environmental Studies professor) or Outdoor Program (the Director or Assistant Director) approval.

Requests for funds may be submitted at any time, but are not necessarily evaluated more than once a semester. Proposals should be emailed to Amy Molitor (molitoam@whitman.edu), Administrator of the OELF. Contact him to learn the date of the next evaluation and/or to discuss your proposal in advance of submission. The proposals will be evaluated by a committee consisting of four environmental studies faculty and the Director or Assistant Director of the Outdoor Program.


Current Students
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