Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.63
Liaison Melissa Maigler
Submission Date July 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Stanford University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
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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:

Stanford offers numerous sustainability-focused immersive experiences:

(1) Students may elect to spend an academic quarter at Hopkins Marine Station, located in Monterey Bay. Here the coursework focuses on marine ecosystems and ocean sustainability. Course offerings have included “Marine Conservation Biology,” “Marine Ecology,” and “Ecology and Conservation of Kelp Forest Communities.” On alternating years Hopkins offers “Stanford at Sea,” a course which includes five weeks of sailing across the Pacific Ocean completing marine research.

(2) Stanford in Washington is a quarter-long program in which students live and work in the nation’s capital. Time is split between policy courses and an immersive policy internship. One of the focuses of the Stanford in Washington program is environmental policy. Internships have included Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, and the Department of Energy. Courses include “Sustainable Development,” “International Environmental Law and Policy,” “Civil Rights Law,” “Health and Environmental Regulatory Policy,” and “Critical Health Issues in the US and Abroad.”

(3) Stanford’s Earth Systems in Hawaii program is a quarter-long immersion program based in the Hawaiian Islands. The program investigates the Earth sciences, life sciences, and Hawaiian culture to address environmental issues that arise from the interaction between man and nature. The program is designed for students interested in Earth systems, biology, geological and environmental sciences, and cultural anthropology. Course offerings have included “Earth Sciences of the Hawaiian Islands,” “Ecology of the Hawaiian Islands,” and “Heritage, Environment and Sovereignty in Hawaii.” Students are also required to carry out their own independent research project as part of the program.

(4) Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in Australia is a quarter-long program specifically designed around ecological and biological themes. It offers a unique opportunity to learn about Australian culture while studying the enormous diversity of coral reefs and rainforests. This program is ideal for students interested in environmental and ecological science and policy. The program consists of four modules: “Coral Reef Ecosystems,” “Coastal Zone Management,” “Coastal Forest Ecosystems,” and “Australian Studies.” Together these courses enhance student understanding of key global ecosystems, while emphasizing the challenges of human co-habitation and industry. Students also must design and carry-out their own research project as part of the program.

(5) Students may elect to spend their Spring Break in an immersive class, known as “Alternative Spring Break.” These trips are week-long, location-based immersive courses with social and community service themes. Examples of 2013-2014 Alternative Spring Break courses include “The Human Cost of Food: Migrant Farm Worker Health in the Central Valley,” “Growing Change: Urban Food Solutions in the Bay Area,” “The Silicon Classroom: Educational Equity in a Changing Digital World,” “The Hands That Feed Us: Migrant Health in Underserved Agricultural Communities of the Central Valley,” “Rural and American Indian Health Disparities,” "Human Power, the Environment, and Alternative Transportation," and "Confronting HIV/AIDS in San Francisco," among others.

The website URL where information about the immersive program(s) is available:

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.