Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.57
Liaison Noah Upchurch
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

Catawba College
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Noah Upchurch
Senior Sustainability Specialist
Center for the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that is one week or more in length?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution:

Bonaire: The Catawba College Department of Biology offers a week-long immersive experience to the South-Caribbean island of Bonaire. Students gain firsthand experience living amongst the sustainable practices of the island, which innovates in sustainable governance through a recent ban on all forms of disposable plastics, including plastic bags, cutlery, bioplastics, plastic straws, and foam packaging. Students spend the first days of their trip completing scuba training before exploring the natural reefs and aquatic ecological communities around Bonaire National Marine Park. Upon completion of the trip, students complete a graded reflection on the set of sustainable practices and natural resource management tactics observed on their trip. Students are also asked to reflect on applicable techniques or policies that could be adopted or implemented to improve the College's interaction with the natural environment. Prompts for the reflection document are attached below in Additional Documentation

Madagascar: Students enrolled in the College's Tropical Biology course are offered the opportunity to partake in a month-long experience in Madagascar. Led by Environment & Sustainability Department Chair Dr. Luke Dollar, students are immersed in a series of challenging, service-oriented learning experiences. The trip focuses on a number of sustainability challenges, namely wildlife habitat conservation in the wake of tourism and capitalist exploitation of resources for the island nation. Other activities include constructing schools with the Friends of Madagascar, a non-profit organization. The trip takes place entirely within and around National Parks. Other learning and experiential themes include developing an understanding of the relationship between human-wildlife coexistence and how that relationship continues to develop and change in the wake of our warming world.

Florida Everglades: Students enrolled in Wildlife Ecology take a nine-day trip to the Florida Everglades. The trip focuses on conservation issues and work done to preserve natural Floridian biodiversity. Students discuss and are faced with the history of policies that have had to balance economic prosperity, social concerns, and natural resources. Developing sustainable cities and communities while balancing encroachment on natural habitats is a central theme. The trip also highlights the relationship between indigenous peoples of Florida and natural spaces.

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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