Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" 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:

Program 1. Penn Summer Abroad Berlin, Germany and Rotterdam, The Netherlands: This program introduces students to the cultural aspects of sustainability in two exemplary European locations—Germany and the Netherlands. In Germany the focus is on the Energy Transition (Energiewende) and the cultural factors that predispose this populace to embrace green politics and sustainable practices, even at personal cost. In the Netherlands the focus is on how cultural factors play a role in the way the Dutch approach issues relating to sea level rise and flooding in a country where 40% of its terrain is at or below sea-level.

This 12-day program, taught exclusively in English, with a preparatory online component, gives students the chance to see sustainability in action in Germany and the Netherlands, two countries widely recognized as leaders in innovative response to climate change. The highlight of the course is travel to Berlin and Rotterdam where students meet local and federal policy makers, sustainability researchers and practitioners. Students also tour sites such as a biodynamic farm, a university dedicated to sustainability and amphibious architecture, as well as have an opportunity to enjoy the vibrant outdoor culture of both cities.

Program 2. The Penn Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (PennEWB) is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that partners with developing communities on environmentally and socially sustainable engineering projects. For the past several years, the group focused its efforts on improving the quality and quantity of the water supply in the Bome Valley, a community of about 50,000 people located in the mountainous northwest region of Cameroon.

Students and faculty advisors work for months in advance of the trip to plan the engineering details, and also to understand the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of the challenges faced by the local community. The intent of the program is to build human capacity to sustainably meet the community's basic human needs. Penn students gain an enriched global perspective through the innovative professional and educational opportunities provided. There are over 100 active members in Penn's chapter.

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

Program 1: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/summer/programs/abroad/berlin-rotterdam
Program 2: http://pennewb.org/

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to teaching environmental sustainability, with a goal to make climate change and sustainability part of the curriculum and educational experience available to all Penn students. (Penn's 2009 "Climate Action Plan".). This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY17 year and compares them to the FY14 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate Action Plan. 2.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been included and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.