Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.90
Liaison Connie Norton
Submission Date Oct. 5, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Simon Fraser University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Carly Koenig
Program Coordinator
Semester in Dialogue
"---" 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:

SFU's Semester in Dialogue is a one-semester, full-time program designed to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility and encourage their passion for improving society. Each semester the program offers an original, interdisciplinary experience that bridges the classroom with the community and creates space for students to reflect on what they are doing and why it matters.

Through the Semester in Dialogue program, students participate in conversations with British Columbia’s thought leaders rather than listening to lectures. They design projects that explore issues of personal and civic importance and receive intensive feedback and mentorship from peers and faculty. Each term explores current issues relevant to society. Past topics include urban sustainability, social enterprise, energy, health, food systems and social change.

In the Fall of 2017, SFU's Semester in Dialogue offered a Semester at CityStudio which brought together bright, innovative students from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and universities to collaborate with The City of Vancouver on demonstration projects.

CityStudio is an immersive, team learning environment combining interdisciplinary skills with the complexity of collaborating within a group setting. The course combined dialogue and design elements, and required students to engage with communities, research existing urban interventions and design projects to improve the world around them. Students co-created projects based on needs of City of Vancouver and the community and were encouraged to bring an open mind about project scope to the program.

By focusing on current issues that matter in Vancouver, students have an opportunity to develop innovative solutions that assist The City of Vancouver in reaching its goals. Students cultivate the skills necessary to conduct student led dialogues, public presentations, and to engage in multi-stakeholder processes with policy makers and City of Vancouver staff. The course offers field experiences, on-the-ground training, leadership development, group process, and urban sustainability project management skills.

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


CityStudio Vancouver is an innovation hub where City staff, students and community co-create experimental projects to make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable and joyful. It launched in 2011 as a collaboration between the City of Vancouver and the city’s public post-secondary institutions and is part of a global shift in education that provides practical learning experiences to help students get jobs and change the world. CityStudio Vancouver is the first of its kind in Canada and unique around the world.

City Studio History:

CityStudio Vancouver was co-founded by Dr. Janet Moore and Duane Elverum to accelerate sustainability in higher learning and provide students with direct opportunities to work on the most challenging urban sustainability problems facing Vancouver.

CityStudio Vancouver was born in response to Vancouver’s ambitious plan to become the Greenest City in the world by 2020. Since then, it has moved beyond goals of pure sustainability to engage students and stakeholders in the hands-on work necessary to implement a broad range of city strategies including: The Healthy City Strategy, The Engaged City, the Greenest City Action Plan, The City of Reconciliation and the Renewable City.

In the past 5 years CityStudio Vancouver has engaged 4,232 students; 201 Faculty across 7 universities; 208 City of Vancouver staff; and over 150 guests in dialogue and consultation. Students have logged a total of 59,184 hours working on projects that will make Vancouver more sustainable, liveable and joyful.

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.