LED Street Light Project

The Environmental Protection Agency has had a partnership with Bennington College and Professor Susan Sgorbati for the past two years. Susan teaches a class called “Solving the Impossible”, where students look at intractable problems and develop skills to work towards solutions. The 22 students in last year’s class decided to tackle the issue of climate change and energy efficiency.

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Center for the Advancement of Public Action

Designed by award-winning architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) is a state-of-the-art, green, academic facility that morphs the studio of the artist, laboratory of a scientist, workshop of a craftsman, and think tank of a policy wonk.

Informed by green building principles, CAPA’s exterior is comprised of reclaimed Vermont marble and its heating/cooling system is geothermal.

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7 Capacities You Need to Change the World

Move into new domains, ask the right questions, observe. Bennington students and fellows share seven capacities that will help individuals shape a better world.

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How is building a chair like working in government? Where does a movement in music intersect with a social movement? Why does solving climate change involve more than the study of the environment? Bennington students describe the intersections.

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Field Work

During an annual seven-week internship period, called Field Work Term, Bennington students are able to bring their studies to the world, confronting the challenges of implementation firsthand and refining their questions to further shape their on-campus experiences.

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The First Fellows

  • An Internet pioneer.
  • A global health policy analyst.
  • The chief medical officer for the state of Tennessee.
  • A communications strategist.
  • The technology advisor to the mayor of Boston.
  • What brings them all to Bennington?

The College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action: CAPA.

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A Bennington Legacy

Since its founding in 1932, Bennington College has been a hub for innovators in every field who want to apply their individual talents to addressing global issues of urgent concern.

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Courses | Faculty

Student as citizen.

At its core, advancing public action means addressing three fundamental questions: What kind of world are we making? What kind of world should we be making? What kind of world can we be making?

Bennington’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) invites you to put the world’s most pressing problems at the center of your education, or to incorporate these issues into your work in other disciplines. Poverty, war, the environment, public health crises, the struggle for democracy, even the state of education itself—imagine an education where the problems of the world are your subject matter and doing something about them is your aim.

That’s the idea behind CAPA. Through the Plan Process you draw on the full breadth of the Bennington curriculum as well as a range of profoundly interdisciplinary public action courses to examine the complex variables that define critical social issues, unpack key concepts, and hone the capacities needed to effect positive and lasting change. In the short term, the aim is to develop frameworks that can generate the most effective solutions to consequential problems; in the long term, it is to become capable of designing and implementing systemic change.

During Field Work Term, you bring your work to the world, confronting the challenges of implementation firsthand and refining your questions to further shape your on-campus experience.