Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.33
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2024

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lisa Kilgore
STARS Administrator
Campus Sustainability Office
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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:
Cornell University offers several sustainability-focused, immersive educational study programs locally and all over the world.

NTRES 4000/4001/4002: This three term course sequence is an an amazing example of the immersive programs that focus on the ecological, social and economic aspects of a sustainability challenge, with an on-campus and international field based learning experience for students participating in the Global Citizenship and Sustainability Program (GCS). The objective of the GCS program is to help students learn about global sustainable development in a localized context involving isolated and remote indigenous communities living in tropical rain-forested areas that are of global ecological significance and which are regarded as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Throughout these courses, students will be provided an overview of methods in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), including methodological considerations in building community partnerships, planning research, and analyzing sustainability issues. Students will also have hands-on introductory experience of community-based research in Borneo and exposure to the higher educational system in Malaysia, along with its philosophy and approach towards CBPR. Working and learning together with participants from UNIMAS and UCTS regarding sustainable development and community and cultural resilience for indigenous communities, students will be able to develop timelines and deliverable schedules for community outreach products, lead and facilitate class sessions, and present research findings to partners, stakeholders, faculty and other students.

Cornell also offers the following immersive service-learning courses, among many others:

- ALS 2000 - Leadership for Sustainability
Offered for students who are interested in becoming leaders for sustainability while on campus and throughout their lives. It is open to all levels. Students will focus primarily on sustainability issues in residence halls but opportunities to address similar issues across campus and/or in the community are also available. In the fall semester the focus is on reducing waste. During the spring semester emphasis is on reducing energy use and the risks associated with a changing climate. Students will increase their leadership and communication skills and better understand how to motivate themselves and others to change behaviors that will improve our stewardship of the world around us.

- DEA 4401 - Adaptive Reuse Studio: Recycling the Built Environment
Utilizing sustainable principles and the LEED rating system, this comprehensive studio challenges students to complete all phases of a historic preservation project using an historic structure in the region. Site visits for building assessments, professional practice tutorials, and seminars on preservation enable students to develop a holistic understanding of how a building thinks and learns over time. This course directly immerses students in the process of rehabilitating existing infrastructure through creative design solutions.

- CRP 3072/5072 - Land Use, Environmental Planning, and Urban Design Workshop
This Land Use and Environmental Planning workshop focuses on the forces and actions that directly affect the physical character, transformation, rehabilitation, and preservation of natural landscapes, cities, and regions. Students will provide technical assistance to communities, and have the opportunity to work with communities in resolving critical planning issues. Topics vary from may include development of land use and natural conservation plans, community redevelopment plans, design and analysis of public spaces, and strategies for making communities more environmentally and economically sustainable.

- GDEV 3060 - Farmworkers: Contemporary Issues and Their Implications
The course examines issues related to primarily unauthorized immigrant workers, in particular immigrant farmworkers and their perceptions on their role in agriculture, their socio-economic interactions, labor concerns, opportunities for advancement in agriculture, and concerns stemming from the context in which they live. The students will examine participatory research methodologies and conduct interviews with community food farmers, focusing on sociological issues including: immigration detentions, farmworker access to health, education and other services, labor concerns, on-farm chemical safety issues, and integration into new home communities, pests. The students will then work to design and field test educational resources for farmworkers and develop publications to synthesize their findings.

- GDEV 3400 - Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice
This course utilizes a sociological perspective to examine the social, political, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture and food. It will consider the historical background to our food and agricultural system, and will look at different agriculture and food issues in the Global North and South. Students will also examine examples of alternative agriculture and food approaches and concepts, such as food sovereignty, agroecology, food justice, fair trade and community-supported agriculture, all of which attempt to support more sustainable, socially equitable agriculture and food systems. Students are encouraged to be engaged, and learn critically, through regular field trips with hands-on learning, guest speakers and films as well as discussions and lecture-based classes.

- HADM 4315 - Nonprofit Social Enterprise and Food Justice
This course provides an overview of nonprofit social enterprise and food justice through service-learning, with a focus on food systems, social ventures and economic policies. Key objectives for students include identifying management best practices for leading nonprofit food service organizations, including strategy, managing employees/volunteers, fundraising, grant proposal writing, board governance, and marketing and social media. Students will partake in a service learning final project, done with a partner organization, along with lectures, class discussions, case study analysis, research, and community service practicums throughout the course. Along with exploring the economic, social, and political issues of combating poverty and hunger in the United States, this course is also focused on nonprofit food service organizations designed to combat hunger in our communities such as food banks, soup kitchens and shelters, community outreach organizations, school feeding programs, and social change through advocacy. Contingent university travel guidelines in the fall, a field trip may be required.

- NTRES 4520 - Land Use and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Nilgiris
Through the Nilgiris Field Learning Program, Cornell students and members of local communities live, study, and research land use and land governance together for 16 weeks each spring in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Kadanad, India. Students explore how changes in land use shape prospects for sustainable livelihoods in connection with agriculture, non-timber forest products, and tourism. Students work with NGO partner the Keystone Foundation on community identified issues including: Community wellness, access to medical resources, and changing modes of healing; Dietary diversity, eating habits, and sourcing patterns in local food systems; Contested forest lands as spaces for food, farming, & trade; Infant feeding practices in the context of maternal health & social networks; and Water and waste infrastructure in an urbanizing environment.

- PLHRT 4270/4271 - Seed to Supper: The Role of the Garden in Community Food Security
Students work in teams to facilitate workshops to present to garden educators in the spring semester, preparing to lead effective garden-based programs. Students examine the garden’s role in community food security/justice and learn about programs which address food security through gardening, such as Seed to Supper, based on an Oregon Food Bank model. Students observe and participate in effective programs and approaches in the community and learn the skills needed to prepare novice gardeners by connecting with others in their communities to successfully raise a portion of their own food on a limited budget.

- VTMED 6737 - International Experiences in Wildlife Health and Conservation
The goal of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about various non-native species and to gain hands-on experience working with these animals in a safe and supportive environment. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about local cultures and, through lectures, discussions and site visits, learn how the work that wildlife sanctuaries, refuges, and bioparks in these developing nations are helping to conserve their natural resources. Students will be graded on participation in daily clinical activities and case rounds, teamwork, organizational skills, medical records, professionalism, and punctuality. The course is currently being taught in Central America (Belize).

Other examples can be found on the Community-Engaged Learning Course Guide here: https://courses.cornell.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=52&poid=27031

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