Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 55.74
Liaison Karen Talentino
Submission Date May 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

Saint Michael's College
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Karen Talentino
Professor of Biology
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:

Saint Michael’s College offers numerous immersive academic experiences via its Academic Study Trips (faculty-led; 2-3 weeks in duration), and a number of them are focused on one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students receive academic preparation for these trips through coursework or readings/assignments; trips involve intense study and research with two faculty leaders.

Costa Rica Tropical Ecology Study Experience:
This study tour provides an introduction to tropical ecology including tropical climates and topography and their effects on ecosystems, as well as an introduction to the conservation and sustainability efforts both at the national park and in Costa Rica as a country. The sites include a tropical dry forest at Palo Verde National Park, a mid-elevation cloud forest at Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and a premontane rain forest at Selve Verde Preserve. Activities include guided hikes, our own group hikes, early morning bird walks, a boat ride, and night hikes. Students generate study questions from observations made on the field trips and on the last full day at each site students gather data for a study that they have designed. Students analyze and interpret the data and give oral presentations on their studies. Students also keep a field journal on plants and animals we encounter and on their observations on conservation, ecotourism impacts, and sustainable development.

Wales - Environmental Study of Sustainable Places:
This two-week study abroad course in May is shaped by a deep examination of the Well Being for Future Generations Act, which arguably overlaps in its entirety with the UN Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.futuregenerations.wales/about-us/future-generations-act/. We focus especially on three core pillars of sustainable development—social equity, environmental quality and economic prosperity—and explore how these themes have been animating multi-level (global, national and local) sustainable development policies and approaches for several decades. Adopting an intentionally interdisciplinary approach, preparation for the trip explores specifically how Wales has been implementing a paradigm shift towards sustainable development through its institutions, policies and cultures for especially the last two decades. The study trip in May, focuses further on how Wales has integrated the principle of sustainable development through the Well Being for Future Generations Act, with students and faculty participating in cultural and environmental field studies, on-site guest lectures, and collaboration and exchange of research and artistic projects with University of Wales-Trinity Saint David students and faculty on the three UWTSD campus of Carmarthen, Lampeter and Swansea. Ecology of the Everglades (4 credit course) includes a 2 week field trip in the Everglades. After studying the basic ecology of the Everglades, including geology, climate, wildlife, habitats, we explore the Everglades as a case study of the impact of humans on natural systems. The Everglades is an ideal location to view and understand through an interdisciplinary lens, how society can exploit and devastate a unique habitat - through industrialized agriculture, overdevelopment, poor water management, and a disregard for indigeous peoples and culture. Students read essays by those who love and have fought for the Everglades, study the attempts at restoration and sustainabilitly, and carry out group research projects which are presented to the campus upon return. Guyana: A Study in Solidarity: We will offer support to a variety of organizations in Georgetown, Guyana that provide care for individuals living in vulnerable communities (orphanages, a leprosy residence, and a geriatric institution), and we will philosophically explore the meaning of the ethical relationship we have with others in our global world. Students will discuss both the universality of struggle in situations of marginalization in any setting and the non-universal, unique circumstances that individuals face. Grounded upon the radical ethical theory of a contemporary philosopher, our coursework will consider the nature of human relatedness and responsibility and the challenges of enacting justice and living & working in solidarity with others. We will also learn about the variety of cultural influences in Guyana and spend a few days in an Arawak village in the Interior. Guyana’s history provides an excellent example of many factors that contribute to global marginalization experienced in the developing world. Students will learn this history and gain understanding of Guyana’s politics, economics, and culture through course readings and engagement with Guyanese individuals. A collaborative project with our Guyanese hosts will give students an opportunity to utilize their talents, skills, and education to create long-term benefit for the service organizations we will support in Guyana.

South Africa: Apartheid, Revolution and Representation. South Africa is a land of dramatic diversity with eleven national languages, a host of ethnicities, tribes and customs. Travel to South Africa to learn about South African culture and history and the resistance movement that created this diverse country.


Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Included trips over the last three years, as they are offered on different schedules (e.g., each year, alternate-years, every three years).

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