Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.77
Liaison Josh Lasky
Submission Date April 4, 2023

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Tara Scully
Director of the Sustainability Minor Program
Assistant Professor of Biology
"---" 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?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution:
There is a strong emphasis across GW's various degree programs on immersive experiences, because of the location and culture of GW: semester-long experiential learning that includes service learning, service, and internships with community partners in D.C. and around the world are the norm. Often, as with the minor in sustainability, the course listing is identified as ""Culminating Experience"" or ""Capstone Seminar."" Following are some examples that demonstrate the breadth of activity on campus.
University Wide
All undergraduate sustainability minors are required to complete an experiential learning component for the minor. This three-credit academic requirement challenges students to take sustainability from the classroom to the community through community service, internships or directed research. During the semester that the student is fulfilling this requirement the students must complete several reflection essays that allow them to think critically about the real-world connections with their community partners working toward sustainability. This semester-long, immersive experience enhances the skills and knowledge of GW's sustainability minors and acts as a capstone experience. More information about the Culminating Experience can be found here: https://sustainabilitycollaborative.gwu.edu/culminating-experience
Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD)
Community-Engaged Teaching (CET) at GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development is an innovative teacher education preparation that links academically rigorous, university-based teacher education programming with community and school-based fieldwork. As part of this training, students in GSEHD participate in a service-learning project with Groundwork Anacostia River DC, an organization that fosters environmental restoration and sustainability in Washington, DC. Students are required to translate their service-learning experience into curriculum for use in the content areas in which they teach; develop skills as community video storytellers and create short films that represent their vision of community-engaged teaching; investigate theories of social justice education that help them bridge the classroom to the broader community; and work with master teachers in a variety of secondary school settings as they experience the diverse landscape of schooling in Washington, DC.
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
The GW Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) currently consists of student members from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, but membership is open to all disciplines. The current project involves the sustainable design and implementation of compost latrines in the village of La Pe–a, El Salvador, as well as training of local villagers. The students have conducted a number of implementation trips to El Salvador.
School of Law
The Law School's Environment and Energy Policy Practicum offers students the opportunity to work directly with client organizations on semester-long policy research projects. These projects frequently have a sustainability focus with organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, the American Council on Renewable Energy, and the Solar Electric Industry Association of Virginia.
College of Professional Studies
The Sustainable Urban Planning Program spring studio focuses on evaluating sustainable development practices in the metropolitan region of Seoul, Republic of Korea. The studio is conducted in partnership with the Korean Research Institute on Human Settlements (KRIHS) and finishes with a trip to Seoul, departing Washington, DC in late May and returning in early June. Korea is a worldwide leader in sustainable development practice, and Seoul is an ideal setting for a studio focused on the subject. The final product of the studio is a detailed set of presentations summarizing the research findings of GW that will be delivered to KRIHS at a workshop on the final afternoon in Seoul. Students receive feedback from KRIHS staff and other experts and KRIHS will publish the GW report as part of its Special Report or Planning and Policy series.
Alternative Breaks Program
Over the past decade, students have created, led, and participated in service opportunities through the GW Alternative Breaks program offered by the Honey W Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. GW Alternative Breaks mission is to empower students, staff and faculty to understand their role in local and global communities through service-learning trips across many issue areas. It is a student-focused, student-planned, and student-led immersive experience that takes place over winter and spring breaks. The goal is to foster personal reflection, social awareness and active citizenship among the GW community. All of the trips for GW Alternative Breaks consider social inequity and many trips have focused on specifically issues of environmental sustainability. In 2021-2022, students participated in one alternative fall, five alternative winter and five alternative spring break programs. Destinations include Baltimore, Atlanta, El Paso, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, Cherokee Nation, DC, Ecuador, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
All undergraduate sustainability minors are required to complete an experiential learning component for the minor. This three-credit academic requirement challenges students to take sustainability from the classroom to the community through community service, internships or directed research. During the semester that the student is fulfilling this requirement the students must complete several reflection essays that allow them to think critically about the real-world connections with their community partners working toward sustainability. This semester-long, immersive experience enhances the skills and knowledge of GW's sustainability minors and acts as a capstone experience. More information about the Culminating Experience can be found here: https://sustainability.gwu.edu/signature-courses

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