Summer school is not just for students anymore

Remember when summer vacation meant notm going to school? Now, for those signing up for the short "vacation" or "alumni" programs being offered by colleges and universities across the US, it can mean just the opposite.

One of the most popular programs of this sort is the University of Vermont's Vacation College, which offers a selection of ten courses during two week-long sessions in July. In between a rich assortment of cultural festivities and ample opportunity to explore such Burlington attributes as nearby Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, participants just might learn something.

Admission to Vacation College doesn't require specific academic background -- just an interest in studying photography, 19th-century crafts, antique collecting, Shakespeare, tennis, the environment, drawing, or piano music, all in a holiday atmosphere. Most courses cost $230, with small additional fees for materials. The cost figures includes room and board and special events.

A special offering from June 23-28 has its "classroom" on a schooner skimming around Lake Champlain. Those on board the graceful Richard robbins, built in 1902, will follow the routes of Samuel de Champlain and Benedict Arnold and take part in lectures and discussions on local history, practical seamanship, the past and future of commercial sail, and the present threats posed to the lake by development and pollution. The schooner's small cabins can accomodate 16 students and 4 crew members who take meals cooked on the wood-burning stove in the galley.

For the landlubbers on campus, accomodations are at the Living/Learning Center, which consists of suites housing five to seven persons in private rooms with a common living room and access to workshop space and a refrigerator. The three meals a day feature homemade bread, fresh fruit, a chicken barbeque, and special dinners based on Hawaiian, New England, and Olde English themes.

Families may reserve whole suites at the center, and there are special programs that chilren from ages four to 14 can participate in while parents are busy with their own. The children's programs, which stress sports, camping, and environmental study, cost $190. Children under three can be accommodated for $ 105 with an extra charge for baby-sitting service.

More information, including an application, is available by writing to Vacation College, Continuing Education, Grasse Mount, The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt. 05404. the registration deadline for courses is June 20; deadline for the schooner program is May 20.

For information on what colleges offer similar programs write to the Council for Advancement in Support of Education, Suite 530/600, One Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036.

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