University of Vermont

CALS-LEAF Program Application

Congratulations on your invitation to apply to the CALS-LEAF Program!


 Please complete the following application, which will be reviewed by a member of the CALS faculty.

We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis as they are received. However, for best consideration, please submit your application by Friday, May 19, 2017.

First-year students who are admitted into CALS-LEAF will be housed with other CALS-LEAF students, comprising a nested community within the broader 360-student Sustainability Learning Community (SLC). As members of this community, LEAF students will live in the University Heights South residential complex. (Applicants must also complete a UVM Housing and Meal Plan Contract in order to be housed on campus. More information about that will be provided at the end of this application.)

There are 4 questions in this survey.

Contact Info

Please provide the following contact information:

Application Essay Questions

About the CALS-LEAF Program...



The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Landscape Ecology, Agriculture, and Food (CALS-LEAF) Program was created to capitalize on the diverse range of interests and disciplines that are included within CALS.  It brings together a group of 11 first-year students from the College to create a nested program within the SLC.  It is intended for students who have a strong interest in becoming immersed in an ecologically-minded community with an active and supportive learning environment.




CALS-LEAF students develop a sense of community and place in SLC through an exploration of local and regional food systems.   Topics within this range of study include: animal and plant ecosystems, sound agricultural practices, food supply chains, renewable energy, health, sustainable community planning, and informed policy making, to name a few.  These explorations include the city of Burlington—with its farmers markets, community gardens, and innovative cooperative grocery and herbal apothecary—to adjacent rural communities comprised of organic and conventional dairy, diversified vegetable, and maple sugaring operations.  These activities intentionally connect classroom and community-based learning, often through discussions over shared meals.  Through reflection on these formats for learning, students create meaningful CALS-LEAF experiences during their first year at UVM. 




CALS-LEAF provides access to core faculty and staff of the SLC programs.  LEAF students engage in a one-credit fall seminar course specifically designed for LEAF students (CALS 096).  Students chosen for this program collaborate with their peers, alongside a faculty advisor, to plan events that may take the form of field trips, discussions with guest speakers, and hands-on workshops, including service projects to the University and to the Greater Burlington community.  LEAF students are intended to be engaged, collaborative, and receptive to learning of the diverse activities in CALS beyond their chosen major, while participating in the activities that all members of the larger SLC community enjoy.


If you see yourself as an active player in creating a sustainable future while cultivating and expanding your interests and skills, you are encouraged to apply to be a member of the CALS-LEAF community.  





Please respond thoughtfully [150-200 words] to each of the the following questions:


The CALS-LEAF Program is intended to expand your horizons and help you to explore interests that will enhance your academic program.  This largely takes place through explorations of regional agricultural landscapes within proximity to UVM.  Given this overview, a) name and describe agriculture and food topics that you would be interested in pursuing as a member of this community, and b) describe new areas of knowledge, skills, and experiences that you would like to acquire as a CALS-LEAF student

LEAF students participate in many activities that involve skills development, such as growing, harvesting, and preserving food, as well as cooking and handling food and food waste.  Given these opportunities, respond to both of the following: a) What do you consider to be the benefits of developing knowledge and skills through shared experiences? b) How could you turn your interest in food systems into something beneficial to your community?

The Sustainability Learning Community (SLC) and CALS-LEAF are committed to global sustainability, and we work hard to foster a welcoming community for students of all backgrounds and experiences.  As a participant in the CALS-LEAF Program, how would you contribute to an atmosphere of inclusion at SLC and in CALS?  In your response, please share how your previous experiences have prepared you to engage people with identities and opinions different from your own (for example: race, socio-economic status, religion, nationality, gender, ability, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, political affiliation, geographic location).