Alma College is unique in the variety of opportunities for experiential learning, and the Venture program often helps students to plan and fund these opportunities.
Venture day is an annual required event for second-year and transfer students that explains the ins and outs of the Venture program. On Sept. 8 and 9, the first in-person Venture Day since 2019 occurred.
“The connections that students are able to make at events like the Venture poster and resource fair are so much richer in-person. It was wonderful to see students who had recently returned from their Alma Ventures connecting and sharing with those planning and exploring,” said Carla Jensen, Director of Career and Personal Development & Associate Director of CCEE at Alma College.
The hope is “that every participant can envision a Venture experience and know where to start and get support to make that vision a reality,” said Jensen. Based on the feedback received, this has been the case.
“In addition to more than 94% of responding participants reporting that we achieved our learning objectives, 89% indicated that the Alma Venture program will change the opportunities that they choose to pursue during their time at Alma College, suggesting that the program is succeeding in reducing barriers and enabling more experiential learning opportunities for Alma students,” said Jensen.
All students at Alma have the opportunity to use the Think Critically Junior Year Experience grants which “are for experiences that help individuals to further personal, professional or academic goals that will prepare them for success after Alma,” said Jensen.
Students can also apply for a grant in the Serve Generously/Lead Purposefully/Live Responsibly category. This “includes a variety of experiential learning grant programs that have the shared goal of helping students take what they are learning at Alma and apply it in the world for the good of others,” said Jensen.
Travel spring terms have also opened up this year, and students have a much wider range of options to choose from. The spring term period is something few other schools do, and something Alma excels at. Travel opportunities give students the chance to immerse themselves in their lessons and learn from other cultures.
It can be daunting to think of traveling to another state, or country with other faculty and other students but the experience “gives you a sense of perspective you cannot get in the United States” said Britt Cartrite, Charles Dana Professor of Political Science at Alma College.
“These courses are unlike any other trip you can take” said Professor Cartrite, “They are much more than tourism with a professor, they are an experience you can’t get anywhere else.” Spring terms combine travel with class. The location you are in often correlates with what you are learning.
Many students cannot rationalize the price of travel spring terms. This is understandable because the travel courses have a significant fee attached to cover the costs of travel, room and board.
“It is hard to focus on the value when you only focus on the price,” said Professor Cartrite. However, “it is such an incredible and worthwhile investment.” Yes, the cost may be high but the experience you will receive is well worth it.
Applications for travel spring terms have already closed. Venture grant applications for spring terms are due Oct. 6.