Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Carolyn Shafer
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pratt Institute
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Carl Zimring
Professor of Sustainability Studies
Social Science and Cultural Studies
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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, including how each program addresses the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability:

Big, challenging, open-ended questions. Multi-disciplinary student teams with space, time and support to start solving them. That’s the Lehigh Mountaintop experience. Lehigh University has welcomed Pratt as a partner in this program for the third time, which—over five years—has supported over 80 student teams.

Mountaintop projects are interdisciplinary deep dives where students, faculty, and external partners come together and take new intellectual, creative, and/or artistic pathways that lead to transformative new innovations, new expressions, and new questions. We expect students to take radical ownership in the projects and envision faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible and sustainable impact:

Impact which builds the skillsets, mindsets, and portfolios of pioneers and change-makers in a rapidly-changing world;
Impact which stands on the shoulders of giants and contributes to the world’s cumulative knowledge base;
Impact which advances praxis and delivers solutions to the most compelling challenges facing the world today.
We seek citizens in our community of doers, thinkers, and creators who encourage, critique, and challenge one another on the path to excellence . . . and impact.

Selected projects from this initiative include:
Southside Permaculture Park
The EcoHouse Lehigh Southside Permaculture Park is designed to integrate the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities with each other and with the greater community of life. Through the creation of a park-like garden, we will create a space where anyone can come and see the diverse web of connections that exist between varied species to create a mutually supportive network of symbiotic relationships. An interactive website will accompany the garden so that anyone who visits can learn about all of the species, how they interact, how to care for and use them, and how to replicate this model elsewhere. Lead Mentor: David Casagrande | Mentor: Albert Wurth

Pop-Up Parklets: Increasing Quality and Walkability of Life in Smaller Cities
How can we develop and design simple urban spaces to build community and increase quality of life? Since the first Parklet appeared in San Francisco roughly a decade ago, these mini parks have begun serving as spots for outdoor dining, enjoying locally-made artwork, exercising, and socializing. While many Parklets now exist, few do in smaller cities and few, too, have been systematically and rigorously analyzed to determine what impacts they have on the people who use them and their surrounding communities. This project will fill this gap by designing and installing an inexpensive Parklet in Bethlehem, testing its effectiveness, and planning ways to replicate the project at other locations throughout the city. Lead Mentor: Karen Beck Pooley

Lehigh and the Valley: A Symbiotic Future?
There seems to be a standing narrative at Lehigh University that low-income communities in the Lehigh Valley perceive our institution as detached from its socioeconomic environment and as an elitist place catered to the privileged classes. The objective of this project is to engage these communities through adequately designed survey methods to asses to what extend this narrative is supported by evidence. The analysis and results are vital to inform the strategy, to be designed, to achieve one of the University’s long-term goals of developing a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with low-income communities in the greater Lehigh Valley. Lead Mentor: Luis Brunstein

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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