EnviroLab Class

 The EnviroLab Class was designed to link student learning in the classroom to long-term engagement with global environmental issues. Co-taught by two professors from different disciplines, the class prepares students to conduct on-the-ground research during the Clinic Trip. Students are placed in Class Clinic Labs advised by a faculty member. In these labs, students conduct small-group research projects.

EnviroLab Clinic Trip

EnviroLab provides an experiential learning component known as the Clinic Trip, where students and faculty travel to specific sites in Asia to study regional environmental issues. Prior to the Clinic Trip, students are required to take an EnviroLab Class, which is co-taught by two professors from different disciplines. The themes of the class change year-to-year, depending on the location of the Clinic Trip. The class requirement allows students to engage in cross-disciplinary training needed for conducting field research. Students are exposed to methodologies from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Clinic Labs are also an aspect of the class. Each lab is expected to produce some type of research or communications product that will be advised by a faculty member.

Year 1 (2016) Malaysian Borneo and Singapore

For Year 1 (2016) in Malaysian Borneo and Singapore, EnviroLab explored themes of<br /> oil palm production and its impact on the environment, deforestation, and infrastructure development (building dams and impact on environment and peoples’ lives).<br />

EnviroLab held its first Clinic Trip in January 2016 to Singapore and Malaysian Borneo. Eight faculty members and 10 students from the Claremont Colleges joined six faculty members, eight students, and one staff member from Yale-NUS. The group embarked on a 10-day immersive learning experience seeing how development, sustainability, food systems, human rights, and sovereignty connect to environmental issues. The group visited an oil palm plantation and met with Dayak Tribes in Borneo to study the impact of dams and oil palm on their livelihood. The group also met with officials from Wilmar International — one of the largest producers of oil palm, and NGOs, such as Birdlife International and Save Rivers.


Learn more about the student experience through the following posts our blog:

Year 2 (2018) Thailand

For Year 2 (2018) in Thailand, EnviroLab explored themes of infrastructure & power, water quality, biodiversity, hydro-modification, aquaculture, agriculture, trans-boundaries & governance, agency & built environment, performance art & resilience.

Student Fellows prepared academically for the Clinic Trip by taking classes taught by Co-Principal Investigator Albert Park (History, CMC) and Co-Principal Investigator Marc Los Huertos (Environmental Analysis, Pomona) that introduced them to the history and culture of the region as well as research methodologies.


For the 2018-2019 cycle, students were selected to participate in the following labs:

  • Performing Arts Lab was led by Anne Harley (Music, Scripps)
  • Science Lab was led by Branwen Williams (Environmental Science, W.M. Keck Science Department), Kathryn Hargan (Postdoctoral Fellow, W.M. Keck Science Department) and Marc Los Huertos
  • Food and Rural Issues Lab was led by Albert Park (History, Claremont McKenna College)


Various class speakers came to the class to discuss their approaches to environmental issues. They included theatre artist Ruth Pongstaphone, who led a workshop on body language across cultures and participatory research through theater practices. Professor Sue Darlington of Hampshire College also came to class to discuss Thai Buddhism and connections to nature, along with Thai activist Phimonphan Saki tram of the Hug Muang Nan Foundation who works on sustainable farming systems in Thailand. The class also attended a field trip to the Thai Buddhist Temple in Ontario.


Unique to this year is an offshoot trip to Vietnam where many of the same issues being examined in the Clinic Trip to Thailand were covered. Pomona College received a grant from Cion Trust which funded the trip to Vietnam, where faculty and students visited mangrove forests and the Mekong delta to meet NGOs and academics on issues of climate change and rural development within the context of Vietnamese culture, religion, war history, and current economic development needs. The group that went on the trip includes 5 faculty from the Claremont Colleges, 1 faculty from Yale-NUS, 12 students from the EA2 l and EA31 class, 2 Teaching Assistants, 1 Vietnam Research Fellow, and 5 students from Yale-NUS, totaling 26 participants.

Learn more about the student experience through the following videos on our YouTube Channel:

Year 3 (2019) Japan

For Year 3 (2019) in Japan, EnviroLab aimed to explore the themes of intersection of nature, nuclear history and infrastructure, social movements and activism, conservation (rare seabird), artistic expression and activism.

For the 2018-2019 cycle, students were selected to participate in the following labs:

  • Access for Disabled People in Japan Lab, led by Angelina Chin (History, Pomona)
  • Japanese Futures Lab, led by Warren Liu (English, Scripps)
  • Biodiversity Lab, led by Wallace “Marty” Meyer (Biology, Pomona)
  • Food and Rural Issues Lab, led by Marc Los Huertos (Environmental Analysis, Pomona) with Albert Park (History, CMC)


The Japan Clinic Trip took place from May 21 to May 31, 2019. The trip began with an orientation that took placed in Osaka (May 21-23). The group visited accessible design spaces and cultural sites. After the orientation, the group divided into sections and performed lab activities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Iga, Nasushiobara, and Hiroshima (May 24-29). The trip wrapped up with activities in Tokyo, including a CMC Pomona Alumni Reception at the Tokyo American Club (May 30-31).


Learn more about the student experience through the following videos on our YouTube Channel:

Year 4 (2020) Korea

For Year 4 (2020) in Korea, EnviroLab aimed to explore environmental issues on the Korean peninsula and the themes of contested infrastructure & ecological development, human agency and social organization/transformation, specifically related to military demands (missile defense systems in Seongju, naval base in Cheju that threaten coral reef), rural and urban ecology (as related to farms near the DMZ, Nanji Park and Cheonggyecheon).

Various class speakers came to the class to discuss their approaches to environmental issues. They included Korean architect Minsuk Cho who led a conversation on design and the environment.


For the 2019-2020 cycle, students were selected to participate in the following labs:

  • Air Pollution Lab, led by Seo Young Park (Anthropology, Scripps)
  • Emissions Lab, led by Branwen Williams (Environmental Science, Keck), Franck Fu (EnviroLab Postdoctoral Fellow; Environmental Science, Keck), and Katie Purvis-Roberts (Chemistry and Environmental Science, Keck)
  • Food and Rural Issues Lab, led by Albert Park (History, CMC) and Marc Los Huertos (Environmental Analysis, POM)


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Korea Clinic Trip has been temporarily postponed until May 2022. The trip will involve visits to research sites throughout South Korea including farms and cities. Faculty will meet with partners, such as Yonsei University and the Hansalim cooperative.