Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 56.54
Liaison Elaine Durr
Submission Date Feb. 19, 2020

STARS v2.2

Elon University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Elaine Durr
Senior Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

There are study abroad and study USA programs that focus on sustainability that are one week or more in length.
One example is Barbados: Culture, Politics, and Society. Sustainability topics are incorporated into the course using the ‘three pillars’ framework by exploring the economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability initiatives in Barbados. This includes examining the country’s recycling program, production and use of solar power, food supply, fresh water reserves, and the effects a tourism-based economy has on sustainable practices. Students in the course volunteer with Slow Food Barbados to promote ‘good, clean, and fair’ food production with local, small gardens working with schools, neighborhoods, and families to establish and maintain vegetable gardens. As part of the Elon World Forest project, Elon students and faculty partner with Walker’s Institute for Regenerations, Research, Education, and Design (WIRRED) to plant trees as part of WIRRED’s One Tree for Every Bajan initiative to plant 245,000 trees to restore the fragile dune ecosystem. Students are challenged to view their travel experience through the lens of sustainability by examining the many choices we make as travelers and their economic, environmental, and social effects.
Another example is Miami: Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability. This program studies the balance between modern human life and the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. During the program students examine where resources come from, how waste is processed and how local, state and national parks maintain ecological integrity in a world dominated by humans. The operation of the City of Miami, Florida is used to understand behind-the-scenes logistics, and the natural resources of South Florida are used to learn about sustainable land management practices. Topics covered include modern forestry methods, water treatment, floodwater management, solid waste disposal, recycling, state and national park management practices, ecosystem services, invasive species, ecological research, the role of zoos and aquaria in conservation, and conservation practices on public and private lands. Service projects are also incorporated.

In addition, Alternative Breaks are immersive short-term service experiences that are designed to introduce students to new local and global communities while working alongside local residents to address pressing social issues. Students participate in different types of service work (direct, indirect, or advocacy) to make a positive impact, while learning about the root causes of the issue on which that program focuses. Through alternative breaks, the Kernodle Center hopes to promote sustainability through ongoing partnerships, cost effective practices, and education about a variety of justice issues.
One week-long program in 18-19 that had a significant sustainability focus was a partnership with an organization called Cultural Connections and Volunteers. An Elon group worked with their site in a rural village in Costa Rica. The primary project was to help build stoves and put flooring in homes in villages where none previously existed. Most of the families cook on open fires resulting in health and hygiene issues. The partner has an effective model for building the stoves, and once completed they contribute in numerous ways to the sustainability of the village.

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:

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