Philip J. Otis Fellows Program

Buiding a straw bale house.

Each year a small number of students, usually two to five, are selected as Otis Fellows to receive grants in the range of $2,000 to $6,000 in support of their own particular off-campus projects which explore an environmental and/or eco-spiritual topic. Projects which involve substantial off-campus research or reflection, usually accomplished during the summer or during a short term leave are encouraged.

Illustrative examples of projects are: (1) visiting the English landscapes where Thomas Hardy or Charlotte Mew roamed, to understand their art; (2) visiting the Amazon to collect information on indigenous peoples’ attitudes toward the forests; (3) studying the use of herbicides in California’s Napa Valley; (4) studying the use of set fires to manage the Yellowstone ecosystem; (5) visiting Umbria to retrace the paths of Francis of Assisi; (6) studying the regional economic impact of the Pacific northwest forest logging restrictions; (7) studying an ecological restoration project in the Chesapeake or New Mexico region; (8) living for a while in a Native American community or in a religious convent or monastery to discover others’ attitudes toward the natural world; (9) interning with a Congressional subcommittee which is working on migratory waterfowl policies.

The grants may be used for travel and living expenses off-campus, for acquisition of library, computational, or other supplies required for the project, for distribution of the projects’ results, and as a summer or academic leave stipend for working on the project.

Applications for these Fellowships must be made to the Dean of the Faculty’s Office by the date in February referred to in this year’s pamphlet, . The application must include a detailed statement of the project, a timetable for its completion, a budget, and a supporting letter from a Faculty sponsor. If short term academic credit is to be sought for the project, this must be indicated in the application. Selection is made by the Dean of the Faculty upon recommendation from the Otis Committee. Applicants may be interviewed.

Following completion of the project, the Fellows must present a report to the college community. The nature of these reports is discussed with selected Fellows.