Student with Flowers JAKE APPLEGATE ’20

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE MAJOR/SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS MINOR

Havertown, PA | born & raised

Jake’s passion for growing herbs, cooking and learning about food systems translates well into what he is doing on-campus through his academic courses, Work Program position and student activities.

Alignment with values

Jake discovered Sterling through a friend when he was in high school. He further explored the College through its website and was attracted to Sterling because of its mission of educating environmental stewards. “Sterling is an amazing place with an important mission. Our world is hurting and here we learn things that allow us to work with our planet and all of its inhabitants instead of against them,” Jake said.

First and lasting impressions

Without ever visiting campus, Jake made his way to Vermont in January 2018 to begin his first semester at Sterling. Jake shared that he experienced a great deal of culture shock upon arriving in Craftsbury Common after living in suburban Pennsylvania. “I felt comfortable here almost immediately as everyone welcomed me, and that made for an easy transition,” he said. “My first impression told me this is exactly where I should be and that’s something I still feel every day.”

Community connections

Hudson Trip Jake

Hiking during the Hudson River watershed trip

When asked what he likes about Sterling, Jake applauded the high-quality food served, and the atmosphere of the dining hall where students and faculty talk over dinner. “Regularly sharing meals with faculty sets Sterling apart from other schools,” he noted. “Conversations don’t necessarily pertain to class, either. I like finding out about common interests, like music.” Jake started off the Fall 2018 semester with a two-week intensive course, The Hudson River Watershed: Nature and Culture of a Changing Landscape, with faculty members Farley Brown and Charlotte Rosendahl. Although he knew the instructors before the trip, the intensive brought the faculty and students together in a new way. Back on campus, Jake reflected that “Sterling is a community-oriented place. When you are seeing everyone on a daily basis, you get to know them all.”

Winter thriving tips

Jake’s advice to someone arriving in the winter to begin their Sterling education is to “bring so many socks.” When asked if he was a skier before coming to Vermont, Jake shared that he had his first introduction to winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing just after arriving on campus, and recommends getting outdoors despite the cold to anyone spending time in this climate.

What’s next?

Jake has settled into his routine of academic coursework and his Work Program position as a Sunday brunch cook for the weekly Student-Run Brunch, and he participates in campus groups like Alliance, The Sterling College Drama Club and the soon-to-be Fermentation Club. He is planning to do an independent study involving hydroponics next semester. Upon graduation, Jake plans to travel and work on farms. “I’d like to expose myself to different kinds of farms in different areas, and learn more about what brings all farmers together and what separates them.”


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