Summer School for Designing a Society

The 2013 Summer School for Designing a Society is now accepting applications!

"... But I'm Not the Only One ..."

summer 2011 school for designing a societyIf I had a hammer, I'd ... be well equipped to solve problems requiring a hammer. For other problems, however, I'd have to resort to creativity: either invent a new way to use the hammer or start looking for new tools. And facing such problems, I might be unsure about which tools are required, what the desired outcome looks like, who has a stake in the outcome, whether the description of the problem itself needs rethinking. Lacking an encouraging environment for grappling with these uncertainties, I might be tempted to just give up. To provide such an encouraging environment for taking up creativity-challenging problems—drawing on inspiration from composition, music, poetry, theater, clowning, art, design, body movement, social movement—is the goal of the School for Designing a Society. This summer we invite you to participate in a three-week session of the School for Designing a Society at the Gesundheit Institute in West Virginia. The summer school offers tools, time, ambiance, assignments, questions, listening, response, attention, affection, anticipation, encouragement. The Gesundheit Institute offers mountains, woods, waterfalls, stars, beautiful meeting spaces and the example of an ongoing long-term project to create an alternative health care model based on fun and friendship. You are asked to bring your interests, passions, questions, critiques, desires, doubts, dreams, works-in-progress or not-yet-formed, curiosity; your hunger for meaningful work, your eagerness to engage.

Who is invited?

You are! No prior background is required, just concern for the welfare of others and willingness to try things out.

Who is offering this?

Organizers and presenters include: Melanie Meltzer, Jacob Barton, Elizabeth Adams, Mark Enslin, Dario Solina

How do I apply?

Cost: $1200 for tuition, room, board and transportation pick up & return.
Limited partial scholarships available. Pay your deposit by April 15 to confirm your participation.


To apply fill in the form with your contact information and statement of interest and send a $200 non-refundable deposit, either online with the secure payment button or by mailing a check made out to School for Designing a Society to Box 7, Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway, Urbana, IL 61801. We are only accepting 20 participants and we suggest you submit your application as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.


The School for Designing a Society does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

General Information

Facilities Gesundheit! consists of a 300-acre pristine tract of farm and mountain land in rural West Virginia, with gardens, a multi-story workshop, mountain hiking trails, creeks, a lake, and clean air and water. The dacha, with its onion domes and Russian architecture, serves as a residence and meeting place, and has won awards for its unique design.

Travel Information

Arrivals, Wednesday, July 4: AMTRAK: the westbound train arrives in White Sulphur Springs, WV at 5pm; the eastbound train arrives at 11:25am. BY AIR: the Greenbrier Airport in Lewisburg is served by Delta Airlines and Continental airlines. Departures, Wednesday, July 25 AMTRAK: the eastbound train departs White Sulphur Springs, WV at 11:25am, the westbound train at 5pm. Gesundheit staff will shuttle people to and from the train station in White Sulphur Springs and the airport in Lewisburg on Wednesday, July 25. BY CAR: on I-64 at Lewisburg, WV exit onto 219 going north. After about 40 minutes, turn right on Locust Creek Road (veers sharply down opposite a sign for quarter horses, 2 miles south of Hillsboro. The turn is easy to miss—if you find yourself in Hillsboro, you've driven 2 miles past the turn!). Take Locust Creek Road for about 10 minutes, over a bridge; the Gesundheit sign will be on the right. Follow the gravel road all the way past the workshop to the parking area near the farmhouse and Dacha. Gesundheit is located in a rural, mountainous area, so the roads are narrow and winding. It's good to make travel plans in advance. Please plan to arrive at dinner time on July 4 and to leave after breakfast on July 25.