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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– how does 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.

I encourage you to check out the Appalachia immersion trip blog and our immersion trip video to learn more! 

WHEN: Spring Break 2023, March 15th - Friday, March 24th

WHERE: Various locations in West Virginia

HOW TO APPLY: Applications are due Sunday, January 11 by 10PM. Apply via the link below!


Trip Leader Applications are due Tuesday, January 3 by 10PM. Interviews with applicants will be held as needed. 


We are seeking leaders from diverse backgrounds and with a range of extracurricular and academic interests. Previous involvement with sustainability, energy energy systems, earth sciences, health, or environmental justice work is not required. Ideal leaders will:


  • Be willing, ready, and excited to learn about the energy industry from multiple perspectives and through various social, economic, and political lenses

  • Be flexible, willing to go with the flow, and able to consider and advocate for your own needs and the needs of the group

  • Be emotionally present and open-minded to hearing different points of view and having dialogue across difference

  • Be able to commit time to attending the trip over spring break, but also to planning for and attending weekly education sessions, discussing trip logistics, communicating with the group, developing itinerary, and attending relevant meetings during winter term

  • Be very responsible with decision making and create an exciting and welcoming atmosphere for trip participants

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GULF COAST ENERGY IMMERSION: December 3rd-15th, 2022

The Heart of America’s Energy: Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana 

The Gulf Coast Energy Immersion Trip will bring Dartmouth students to an area of the country that is as controversial as it is critical for supplying America’s energy needs as we know them. Texas is the country’s leading producer of crude oil, natural gas, wind power, and total electricity, while Louisiana happens to consume more energy per capita than any other state. This trip has been designed to explore the systems, infrastructure, and geological features that have allowed these southern states to become two of the most critical players in the energy sector. Throughout the journey, we will visit sites and hear from energy industry stakeholders about environmental and societal health challenges, the global impacts of our energy needs, and the economics, politics, and engineering that govern the way that our country’s energy systems operate. Students will be challenged to think critically about how energy systems adapt and respond to a rapidly changing planet with an ever-increasing demand for energy.

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