Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.34
Liaison Ciannat Howett
Submission Date July 25, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Emory University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Emily Cumbie-Drake
Sustainability Programs Coordinator
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that meets the criteria for this credit?:

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

Emory University offers several venues for immersive, sustainability-focused, experiences. Each of these programs includes a combination of in-class and off-campus activities to provide students both with training in the history and theory of sustainability as well as in the field experiences.

1) Internships: Emory University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to receive academic credit for off-campus, unpaid, internships. Through the College Internship Program students with placements at environmental or climate based organizations are encouraged to enroll in a sustainability focused reflection course. In this course students are exposed to primary source readings in each of the areas of the triple bottom line of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social. Since students have positions in varied locations – from the City of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability to community garden organizations – the discussions are necessarily broad, but are intended to expose students to the social justice issues which are wrapped into the umbrella that is sustainability. The course culminates with a digital story presentation where students identify, research, and present a specific sustainability issue - such as deconstruction of buildings versus demolition - discussed in class which they find to be particularly relevant to their internship.

2) Community Building and Social Change Program: Emory University’s Community Building and Social Change Fellowship program is a focused and intensive 12-month program. Students apply to the program and a select group is offered the opportunity to augment their typical college courses with training and field work with one of a number of sustainable Atlanta community building initiatives. Coursework in the Fall begins with the history and theories of community building and social change and goes on to examine the roles that corporate, government, and nonprofit sectors play in communities. In the Spring fellows learn methods for community-based research, strategic planning, and community organizing which they then apply during the Summer by working on projects proposed by local community organizations addressing specific challenges related to health, housing and community development, the environment and climate, and social policy. Current Community Building and Social Change fellows are working with the DeKalb Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative to craft Quality of Life Plans in four high school clusters in DeKalb County, Georgia.

3) Freiburg Environmental Studies and Sustainability Study-Abroad Program: Emory University, in partnership with Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg, offers students a study-abroad opportunity focused on the eco-friendly industry which has developed in Freiburg, Germany. Students can take courses in environmental studies, forest ecology, and sustainable innovation – many of which include outdoor research activities in the Black Forest and Rhine River Valley. Courses are designed as three-week modules with an emphasis on hands-on study and experiences with ecological processes and human effects on the environment. Included in the program is also a carbon-offset for the approximate round-trip air travel of each student.

4) Undergraduate Program in Global Research and Development (UPGRADE): Emory's Center for International Programs Abroad administers an undergraduate grant for Emory College students who wish to gain practical hands-on sustainable development training by doing service in developing countries over the summer. This non-credit bearing program allows students to approach their time abroad from a different angle and focuses on students with a distinct set of skills and experiences. In-country supervision and training is done through the Foundation for Sustainable Development.

5) The Ethics and Servant Leadership program (EASL): EASL offers students an opportunity to participate in summer internships, alternative Spring Break trips, and the Forum (an academic year program) while teaching students about service and community involvement. Many of these opportunities provide sustainability-focused immersive experiences, including placements at Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives, Decatur High School Community Garden, The Carter Center, Greening Youth Foundation, Park Pride, Trees Atlanta, Urban League, CARE, and Gaia Gardens.

6) Environmental Sciences Service-Learning course (ENVS 491): This program allows students to combine environmental concerns with the planning and implementation of community-based projects. The spring 2014 section of ENVS 491 focused on coal and its impact on people and the environment. Throughout the semester, students investigated the environmental, social, and economic impact of each phase of the lifespan of coal, including extraction, cleaning, transport, and burning. The course incorporated readings on case studies, documentary films, guest speakers, and involvement in Environment Georgia’s Solar Campaign (http://www.environmentgeorgia.org/). Throughout the semester, students planned and implemented two major projects in conjunction with Environment Georgia: a Solar Town Hall and Lobby Days.

The website URL where information about the immersive program(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Additional websites for immersive programs include:


Note--this webpage is out of date but a more updated one isn't available: http://www.religion.emory.edu/courses/internMoreInfo.html

Additional websites for immersive programs include:


Note--this webpage is out of date but a more updated one isn't available: http://www.religion.emory.edu/courses/internMoreInfo.html

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.