Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Heather Albert-Knopp
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

College of the Atlantic
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Rob Levin
Director of Communications
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
College of the Atlantic Human Ecology Lab and Island Odyssey Program

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In the College of the Atlantic Human Ecology Lab and Island Odyssey (HELIO) program, students from COA and a handful of other colleges are gaining direct experience with sustainable economic development, launching social enterprises, and community building.

Launched in 2016, HELIO is the first step towards the creation of a new higher-education platform on the island of Ōsakikamijima, Japan. The program so far consists of yearly, two-week educational intensives bringing together 24 students—eight from COA, eight from the AshokaU Consortium, and eight from Japanese higher-education institutions—to work in cross-cultural teams on a range of interdisciplinary community projects. HELIO is cosponsored by Ashoka Japan, the Town of Ōsakikamijima, and Ashoka U.

The new platform will channel College of the Atlantic’s human ecology pedagogy and will be rooted in the local community. As such, the platform will be interdisciplinary, self-directed, and action-oriented, while principally addressing questions and problems of sustainability as they relate to the wellbeing of people nearby and in the world at large. College of the Atlantic staff and faculty, including Academic Dean Dr. Ken Hill, Sharpe-Mcnally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business Jay Friedlander, and President Darron Collins, Ph.D., have been onsite and instrumental in the design of the platform.

As per the COA model, participants in each HELIO program are taking part in the development of Ōsakikamijima’s new higher education platform. They are gaining hands-on skills in economic development, cultural preservation, and in launching a social enterprise to rejuvenate a community. At the same time, these students are helping to create a new educational model to upend the Japanese higher education system with an interdisciplinary, self-directed perspective.

HELIO students study a range of topics, including food systems, design, activism, enterprise, and peace studies. Participants are immersed in the island community and learn from local and internationally recognized leaders in government, agriculture, education, activism, and social entrepreneurship. The students are not just studying sustainability and venture creation—they are actively taking part in such activities as the HELIO program develops, and are learning how to build community engagement around their efforts.

Japanese HELIO leaders include: Dr. Hiromi Nagao, former president of Hiroshima Jogakuim University and member of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Dr. Koichi Kimoto, professor of Geography at Kwansei Gakuin University; and Kensuke Onishi, founder and CEO Peace Winds Japan. The project is supported by local officials, including the Mayor of Ōsakikamijima, Yukinori Takata.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.