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The Energy Immersion Trips program is a collaboration between the Sustainability Office and the Irving Institute for Energy and Society that provides students in-depth opportunities to examine energy systems from a variety of different perspectives and to explore future pathways through break trips to different regions of the U.S. Students examine first-hand the intersections of natural resource extraction, policy, economics, health, geography, and culture and meet with energy company executives and employees, landowners, decision makers, community organizers, local utilities, watch dog groups, environmental and social justice activists and leaders in the extraction industry. Throughout the trips, students gain skills in problem assessment, creating dialogue across difference, and reflection.



Natural Resource Extraction, Health, and Local Economies in Appalachia

The Appalachia Energy Immersion Trip is an experiential learning opportunity bringing students to the heart of America’s coal industry–a historically important place for our national energy system that continues to prove its relevance in the shaping of our nation’s energy policies. The ten-day trip will travel throughout West Virginia to explore the history and legacy of coal extraction on the people, landscape, environment, and economy of West Virginia, as well as the region’s shift to a different future. Students will interact with people working in diverse areas of the industry–energy producers, community organizations, political leaders, and more–to learn about West Virginia’s transition to a cleaner energy system, including development of transitional resources like natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal. 


The coal industry has been integral in shaping the region’s cultural identity, so how might a region adapt and change when this industry is diminishing? What is the future of energy in Appalachia, and how can we reach this future in an equitable way that does not repeat the mistakes of past extractive industries? And what is our role in the energy system as consumers of energy, and how can we contribute to a just transition?  These questions will drive our Appalachian experience.

Check the Appalachia immersion trip blog and our immersion trip video to learn more! 

WHEN: Spring Break 2024, March 13th - March 23rd


WHERE: Various locations in West Virginia and Washington, D.C.


HOW TO APPLY: Applications are due Sunday, January 7 by 10PM.



Rachel Kent | Program Assistant | Dartmouth Sustainability Office

Angus McReynolds | Experiential Learning Coordinator | Irving Institute

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