We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful Alpine environment and we take advantage of our stunning location as much as possible! The LAS Alpine Institute inspires students to learn from and love Leysin’s landscape, undergoing personal growth in the process. The Alpine Institute helps our students build a connection to their local environment while developing the physical and teamwork skills vital for developing into healthy adults. Last week some students undertook adventures as part of the International Award (known as the Duke of Edinburgh Award in the UK). The award requires students to excel not only in physical activity but also in skills and voluntary service. In doing so, our students are working towards becoming more compassionate, innovative, and responsible citizens of the world.
Students recently participated in two expeditions, the second one completed autonomously. This provided students with agency and allowed them to learn experientially. Each task, alongside their service and skills work, allowed them to develop their leadership, teamwork, and resilience. Students from all over the world complete this program, so our students will be part of an extensive network of students from 130 countries worldwide!
This year at LAS, students participated in three expeditions, including two hiking and our first bike touring group! Hiking and cycling in Switzerland are very challenging due to our positioning in the Alps, however, our students powered through the rugged terrain! Providing students with the opportunity to organize their equipment, maps, and food and to plan their routes through the mountains allowed them to gain knowledge and learn problem solving. These are vital skills applicable not only to mountaineering but to tasks at school or in their futures, where they need to work with others to solve issues and plan ahead.
Students in the Alpine Institute who participated in this program also understand that enjoying nature invokes a responsibility to care for the environment. Many of the students who pursue their International Award volunteer with the LAS Eco Club, which aims to protect the wild places that we have the privilege of enjoying on our outdoor trips. For Earth Day this year, the Eco Club partnered with our LAS kitchen, the gardening club, local businesses, and our Student Life department. Together, they organized a village trash pick-up, planted trees in the Beau Site garden, and coordinated a raffle for Protect our Winters (POW), raising money and awareness for the upcoming Swiss vote on climate action.
We feel so lucky to have such a diverse and beautiful array of wildlife and nature right at our doorstep here at LAS, and we therefore believe in the importance of maintaining and protecting it! Students participating in the International Award were able to complete their hours of service with the Eco Club and were also taught the importance of protecting the environment they encounter both on their expeditions and in their everyday life at LAS. Well done to all the students involved, we hope you will take your love of nature and the mountains with you into the future, and we can’t wait to welcome new students into the Alpine Institute and kickstart their passion for the mountains!