Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.13
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Nov. 7, 2022

STARS v2.2

Colorado State University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kirstie Tedrick
Sustainability Coordinator
Housing & Dining Services
"---" 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:

Sustainable Energy Futures in Copenhagen, Denmark is a summer international program offered to CSU students and led by CSU faculty. Students begin the program in Colorado, touring the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, investigating sustainable energy potential and action in Colorado, and studying the relationship of indigenous nations and territories to energy extraction in the US. Then, students spend two weeks in Copenhagen, learning about the city’s sustainability initiatives. They tour an off-shore wind farm, cooperative energy initiatives, carbon-neutral neighborhoods, and learn from experts in sustainability government, industry, and academia in Denmark. Copenhagen is on track to become the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Sustainable energy initiatives have been carefully woven into the city’s infrastructures, education programs, transportation systems, leisure activities, food culture, and daily life. This program allows students to experience first-hand how technology and cultural initiatives work symbiotically to make this city a model of sustainability practices.

Community and Cultural Engagement in Ecuador. This CSU faculty-led program engages students in service learning and community development in the high Andes of Ecuador. During this program, participants develop personal and cultural awareness through business visits, cultural activities, and service projects through various field excursions throughout multiple cities in Ecuador. This course integrates meaningful service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Whether visiting a rescue center for children or observing local community activism and ecotourism, students broaden their perspectives of how communities can combat and overcome poverty.

Community Education & Health in Zambia. This summer CSU faculty-led program takes students to Livingstone, Zambia to assist Zambians in educational settings (schools, after school programs, adult literacy programs, physical education programs), community health areas (clinics, home-based care, health education programs), gender equality programs, and sustainable building. Coursework focuses on ethics, motivations, and sustainability of development work.

Ghana Community Engagement Project. This CSU faculty-led program has a theme of Transnational Solidarity through Youth Development. Participants engage in community building projects that include working alongside Ghanaian youth and young adults to learn about how Ghanaians understand their society and culture. Students can expect to learn about Ghanaian history and culture, meet traditional elders and Queen mothers, listen to lectures about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, visit museums and artist galleries, experience rural and urban life, learn about traditional storytelling, African drumming and dance, and visit open air markets. Community engagement opportunities include working with kids to learn about their community and working on gender and sexuality issues. Ghanaian-run NGOs determine what is needed in their communities and how program participants can best serve them.

Sustainable Design and Construction in Costa Rica is a winter break program offered by CSU’s Construction Management department. Students focus on sustainable design and construction, energy, healthy buildings, natural resources, and other environmental issues. The program partners with EARTH University to learn best practices of sustainable building and construction, touring internationally renowned examples. Students leave this program better equipped to address issues of sustainability in the built environment and advocate for sustainable building design in their later careers. In 2019, this program won the Forum on Education Abroad Award for Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design. https://myedabroad.colostate.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgramAngular&id=10096

Skills for Undergraduate Participation in Ecological Research (SUPER) offers students primarily in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, but open to all, the opportunity to pair up with CSU researchers at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory and peers to work on research projects. The program involves courses to prepare students with research skills and methods, culminating in a final research project. Students have mentors in their research teams to guide them through the process and prepare them to become mentors and advisors for future students and program participants. Past projects include human-carnivore coexistence, post-wildfire regeneration, civic science participation, and climate change impacts on agriculture. This program offers students choice in the research they partake in as an undergraduate, fostering scientific skills and decision-making early in their academic career. Most projects place heavy emphasis on social-ecological interactions and use the Triple Bottom Line approach to better understand the way changing ecosystems impact communities socially, economically, and ecologically. This program provides students a guided introduction into scientific research to develop skills for their future career or graduate programs while working on CSU research projects.

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

CSU offers many more sustainability related study abroad or service learning experiences. CSU has numerous partner and affiliate institutions around the world with programs focusing on sustainability. Non-credit programs, such as Extension internships, allow students in Colorado the opportunity to develop community engagement strategies in numerous sustainability related and focused positions.

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.