The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV) is hosting a virtual “climate change sprint” for Vermont high school students the weekend of February 4-6. GIV provides immersive learning opportunities for Vermont high school students. Typically, these immersions occur on college campuses across the state, but during the pandemic, GIV has been offering remote programming.


Harwood junior Garrett Nelson will attend GIV’s climate change sprint. This is his first experience with GIV, though he has taken a Natural Resource Management course through the state of Vermont and has taken sustainability classes at Crossett Brook Middle School and Harwood Union High School. The middle school course raised his awareness about the impacts of farming on the environment. The class on creating sustainable communities that he took in 10th grade alerted him to the societal issues related to climate change. “That was an interesting class for me,” he said. “It opened up that climate change is more than just car emissions and farming emissions; it’s also a political problem.” He said the impacts of climate change are something a lot of people are not conscious about and he looks forward to learning more about them in the GIV program. He hopes to study sciences in the future. “I want to learn more,” he said.

Per GIV coordinator Ross Cagenello, students will tackle questions such as: What will Vermont look like after 50 more years of climate change? How can young people lobby for action on a legislative level? How can art shift people’s perspective on caring about the planet?

“Now more than ever, we need to amplify youth voices speaking out against climate change,” said Cagenello. “Our young people are undoubtedly the most affected by the ongoing global climate crisis. They care, and they want to make a difference. It’s our job to give them the resources and connections they need to feel empowered to do just that.”


Through community-oriented group projects, interactive challenges, and intensive workshops, students will gain the connections, resources, and inspiration to take on climate change in Vermont and beyond, Cagenello said. “That’s the point of this program -- to bring Vermont high school students together, to give them access to climate change experts, to inspire them to learn the science and create change in their communities and the world at large. We know we can’t save the world in a weekend. But we can certainly give our youth a running start towards making a difference!”

Applications for GIV’s virtual climate change sprint are currently open. Tuition is “pay what you can.” Applications for the winter program and in-person summer immersions are available now at