Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 88.00
Liaison Sam Lubow
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

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

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. http://hopkinsmarinestation.stanford.edu/

(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. Past student internships have been through the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development, and the Department of Energy, among others. 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.” https://siw.stanford.edu/

(3) The 10-week Wrigley Field Program in Hawai'i takes place on the islands of Hawai'i (the Big Island) and Kaua'i. For six weeks, students explore and study the Big Island based out of two locations: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the eastern side of the island; and Waimea, a beautiful town in north central Hawai'i with access to areas such as the Kohala Forest Reserve and Puako Reef on the north Kona coast. The next two weeks transition to Kaua'i where students spend time exploring Koke'e State park and the Grand Canyon of Waimea as well as the North Shore, where they work with local groups of the Waipa Foundation and Limahuli Garden and Preserve. https://earth.stanford.edu/programs/hawaii/

(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,” “Fresh Water Resources and 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 and allowing students to travel throughout the coastal region of Eastern Australia during the course of their studies. 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” (ASB). These trips are week-long, location-based immersive courses with social and community service themes. Examples of Alternative Spring Break courses include “The Silicon Classroom: Educational Equity in a Changing Digital World,” “Community Organizing and Urban Revitalization in Detroit,” “Child Health and Nutrition,” “Beyond Organic: Down n’ Dirty with California’s Food System in Monterey Bay,” “Socioeconomic Inequality in the Bay Area,” and “The Fruit of Their Labor: Migrant Health in California” among others.

(6) Similarly to ASB, there is a program over Thanksgiving Break called “Thanksgiving Back.” These trips are also week-long, location-based immersive courses with social and community service themes. The three 2018 Thanksgiving Back courses included “Resilience through Solidarity: The Khmer American Experience,” “Queer And Asian + History, Identity And Culture,” and “Human Rights Advocacy for Refugee and Immigrant Health in the Bay Area.”

(7) Before their sophomore year, students may also elect to participate in a sophomore college, a two week long immersive academic experience either on-or off-campus. Many of the sophomore college courses have sustainability themes. For example, through the sophomore college course In the Age of the Anthropocene – Coupled Human-Natural Systems of Southeast Alaska, climate scientist Rob Dunbar led 12 students on a field learning expedition to Alaska. Students were exposed to thinking about the ecology, geology, and biophysics of the landscape and their integration with social systems, offering students a hands-on chance for students to learn about people interacting with their resources and ecosystems in a sustainable way.

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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