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The Philip J. Otis Environmental Gathering

Each year a total of $5,000 is awarded for supporting off-campus gatherings of members of the College who wish to concentrate for a period of time on themes related to the natural environment and the wilderness, especially themes which explore the spiritual and moral dimensions of human relationships with the natural world. This can be a gathering of students or faculty or staff, a gathering of members of different constituencies within the College, a gathering of college folk and persons from other communities. Within the general purpose noted above, the efforts can focus on academic or curricular matters, on extracurricular or civic interests, on private meditative or public policy activities.

Examples of a Gathering are: (1) a group of students who want to have a retreat with a visiting Buddhist monk, over fall semester break, to learn about Buddhist attitudes toward nature; (2) a group of faculty and students who want an overnight meeting to read Russian poetry about the natural world; (3) a day-long workshop for faculty, students, and legislators in Augusta to discuss the politics of environmental protection; (4) a retreat of college folk to listen, in a relaxing situation, to students reading their own poetry or talking about their own art in regard to the natural world; (5) a workshop of faculty interested in reviewing how science can be made more interdisciplinary under the rubric of environmental studies; (6) a day or two-day conference of students, faculty, and local officials discussing the economics of land trusts.

The grant may be used to provide a stipend for the coordinator of the gathering, expenses of travel and accommodation, acquisition of materials for use in the gathering, honoraria for leaders or consultants. The College’s Shortridge Center may be an appropriate location for a gathering.

There are two deadlines for applications: October 1 and March 1. Applications in March have no assurance of funding.

Application must be made to the Dean of the Faculty’s Office. The application must include a statement of the purpose, a list of participants, the name of the coordinator, and a concise and accurate budget for the funds. Selection is made by the Dean of the Faculty upon recommendation from the Otis Committee.


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