Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 38.98
Liaison Ann Drevno
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Saint Mary's College of California
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Steve Woolpert
School of Liberal Arts
"---" 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:
The DIRT Projects
Since January 2002, students have had the option, during Jan Term, to participate in trips loosely connected under the title "DIRT" - Dismantle, Immerse, Reflect, Transform. DIRT trips have sent students into situations of extreme poverty and challenged those students to collaborate with host communities to address quality-of-life issues of the community's choosing.

More than just service learning trips, the course requires the students to participate in daily reflections that look beyond treating the problem and to seek out the larger social, economic and environmental conditions that led to the current condition. These observations are then explored by the group to understand the systemic changes needed to foster more sustainable outcomes for the benefit of the host community, the surrounding region, and communities at large.

Recent trips (Dominica, Tanzania, Haiti and Brazil) have focused on issues of water security, sanitation and reforestation, with the recognition that these issues are deeply intertwined and directly related to the health and happiness of the host communities. With mentoring from veterans of prior trips, the students learn about the feasibility of addressing these major quality-of-life issues in ways that can be managed and maintained by locals in-country with the resources available to them. In addition, while on-site, the students learn how to manage their own use of water, power and other resources while reducing the waste stream that would be typical of their lives in the U.S.

Past programs have taken students to the Brazilian Amazon, post-earthquake Haiti, post-tornado Indiana, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Carib Territory of Dominica, and post-Katrina New Orleans. Recent programs have taken students to Indiana following tornado damage; Africa; the Amazon; Haiti; Dominican Republic; and several times to New Orleans post Katrina.

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

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.