Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.81
Liaison Kathleen Crawford
Submission Date July 28, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Florida Gulf Coast University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Katie Leone
Sustainability Coordinator
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" 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, including how each program addresses the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability:

FGCU offers sustainability-focused immerse programs through faculty-led study abroad courses, Living-Learning Communities, and service-abroad oriented Registered Student Organizations. The following descriptions summarize programs offered from Fall 2014 to Spring 2017.


Hungary Education Internships :
The Hungarian Student Teaching Exchange Program is a component of the College of Education's Integrated Field Experience and/or the Final Internship experience courses. It is a cultural student teaching exchange in which students spend two-three weeks teaching in Hungarian Schools. While in Hungary, FGCU students teach in English immersion classrooms that reflect their area of certification and major area of study. This experience fulfills the criteria for ESOL Endorsement established by the State of Florida. The program seeks to motivate a global vision, compare educational systems, develop awareness of how language impacts every facet of life and education, and connect global communities through the use of literacy, technology and the arts. FGCU students teach in the Laboratory School associated with Szent Istvan's University; speak at local civic clubs, libraries, churches and public schools; and meet with local Mayors and representatives of the European Union. Participants conduct English and cultural workshops for Education students at Szent Istvan's University. Prior to leaving for Hungary, participants teach cultural lessons in local schools. Participants are expected to use technology to connect global classrooms in an effort to expand the worldview of all students involved.

Bahamas Tropical Island Biology:
This course is an intense immersion experience designed to provide a broad overview of the biology and ecology of tropical islands, using San Salvador as a model of the Caribbean basin. The course emphasizes experiential collaborative learning through lecture, laboratory, field activities, and group projects. Additionally, students are introduced to the culture and history, as well as the current environmental and socioeconomic issues of the population on San Salvador. There are also collaborative research opportunities for students and faculty through the development of independent research projects.

Ghana Social Work
Students will have classroom lectures for 2 weeks on campus at FGCU before traveling to Ghana, 2 weeks in Ghana learning from NGOs, cultural excursions to the capital, natural rainforest, slave trade historical sights, return to campus for 1.5 weeks classroom reflection, assignments and lectures. Ghana is located in the western region of Africa. Currently HIV/AIDS prevalence was at 1.3% in 2012 and is highest in the eastern region of Ghana and lowest in the northern regions of the country. This course will explore the implications of the virus on children, women, and families. Issues of human trafficking, human rights, poverty (environmental sustainability) and social justice will be examined and discussed. This class is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Ghana Sea Turtle and Environmental – (offered biannually, since 2010)
Students travel to Ghana, West Africa, to complete sea turtle and primate research and to expand their cultural worldview.

Interdisciplinary Student Research in Argentina
This program involved students from FGCU and the University of Buenos Aires. Students were required to ask interdisciplinary research questions regarding environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues of the wetlands of the methodologies needed to conduct their field research successfully. Students worked with local community members and the local extension agency to refine and conduct research to answer their questions. The goal was to construct new transdisciplinary applied knowledge and to advocate for appropriate sustainable practices by collaborating with local community members.

The Leadership through Service LLC is designed for first-year students who are interested in a transformational leadership philosophy called community-engaged leadership. This leadership philosophy is a service-oriented philosophy that is geared towards making a difference in your community. Combining academic coursework, a shared residential experience, and a variety of co-curricular programming opportunities, our “Leadership through Service” community offers students the opportunity to work with various community partners to create intergenerational events focused on solving problems at a higher structural level. At the heart of this community is the recognition that because we are all members of a larger social community we must consider social issues and problems to be partly our own responsibility. In this way, the FGCU students involved in the LLC also develop their own social awareness and leadership skills through learning how to interact with, support, and enhance their community. Please see: http://www.fgcu.edu/Housing/prospective/leadership-through-service-community.html

Recognizing that women are underrepresented in many fields, the WiSTEM LLC is designed for women majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It provides a supportive on-campus housing environment designed to enhance the academic and career success of first-year college women pursuing challenging degrees in STEM disciplines. Please see: http://www.fgcu.edu/Housing/prospective/WiStem.html

The Global Medical Brigades (GMB) FGCU Chapter takes an annual medical and public health service-learning trip to Nicaragua (or some other GMB served country) where they assist Brigades staff and community members in setting up and running clinics serving rural communities that would not otherwise have access to health care services. They also complete public health service-learning in which they complete projects that help increase sanitary conditions and provide access to safe drinking water for the communities served.

DROP (Dominican Republic Outreach Program)’s mission is to promote the idea of global citizenship, stress the importance of community engagement, and foster a sense of civic responsibility, both locally and abroad. D.R.O.P. does this through a group of dedicated students who fundraise throughout the year for school supplies, athletic equipment, and monetary donations. Then, during a once-a-year alternative Spring Break, a group of D.R.O.P.’s members travel to the Dominican Republic to deliver those supplies to the underprivileged youth with the help of a Santiago-based outreach organization, Acción Callejera.

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Alternative Break Program (AB) is a weeklong service trip in which an estimated twenty or more students, faculty, and staff provide service to an urban and rural city during FGCU’s winter and spring break. Sponsored by FGCU’s Student Government and the Office of Multicultural and Leadership Development, the Alternative Break program was created to educate and expose FGCU students, staff, and faculty to the realities of social issues and injustices and what is being done to promote and encourage advocacy and action. While on these trips, their primary goal is to partake in meaningful group service learning projects, build relationships with communities and participants through personal interactions, and educate participants about the root causes of these issues and injustices. This program seeks to serve with nonprofit service organizations that target issues such as hunger, homelessness, poverty, education, environment restoration, and wellness and prevention. Another aspect of the Alternative Break program is daily educational sessions, activities, and discussions meant to supplement the service completed by the participants.

The Honors College immersion weekend trip in Immokalee, FL is a service-based trip designed for students to engage in a culture different from their own. Through this trip, students are exposed to issues of social justice, poverty, and the lives of migrant farm workers. This experience allows students to bond, gain an appreciation for service, focus on diversity, and learn how to be advocates of social justice at FGCU and in the surrounding community.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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