Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.51
Liaison Aurora Sharrard
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pittsburgh
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
2.00 / 2.00 David Sanchez
Asst. Prof/Assist. Director
Civil and Environmental Engineering
"---" 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:

1. Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunities -
The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation offers twelve-week summer programs aimed at providing talented undergraduate students with creative opportunities that go beyond the classroom curriculum and enable them to develop their own ideas, working independently or in a group on hands-on research projects in sustainability with advice and guidance from a faculty mentor.

2. Pitt Honors Community Research Fellowship -
The Community Research Fellowship’s mission is to provide experiential learning to students as they engage with curriculum concepts to create a socially responsible, mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources with their community partners.

3. Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology -
The Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology (PLE) is a biological field station that is part of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Located in Northwestern Pennsylvania on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, PLE is dedicated to fostering the establishment of a sustainable culture through environmental education, field research in the natural and environmental sciences, and community involvement.

PittServes Environmental Justice Alternative Break -
Alternative Break gives you the chance to participate in community-based projects that include engagement with members of the community and exposure to the problems, customs, and culture of the region. Teams are trained by community partners to understand the specific content of their service work and are prepared to carry out their tasks. The Environmental Justice Alternative Break is a collaboration between the Office of PittServes and the Student Office of Sustainability to counties throughout Western Pennsylvania. In 2018 and 2019, cohorts worked with local community agencies on service projects specific to the environmental and social justice impacts from the energy and petrochemical industries. Projects addressed food insecurity, sustainable agriculture, policy and state park preservation, community outreach, and education.

Wyoming Field Studies -
The Spring Creek Field Studies Program is designed for: Geology, Ecology, Biology, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies students. There are no formal pre-requisites and the program is open to all majors. For this program it would be helpful, not required, to have previously taken courses in Geology or Ecology. The goal of this program is for students to develop an understanding of the complex geological, biological, and historical processes that shape the landscape, habitats, and natural and human communities that we see today. This 6-week, 6-credit program course is a unique introduction to the practices of ecology, paleontology, and archaeology, with a strong emphasis on field techniques. Key themes of this program include sustainability, conservation, and renewable resources.

Tropical Rainforests, Ecology, and Culture in Ecuador -
This 1-credit program over spring break is designed for students interested in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Sustainability and culture. The program provides an introduction to tropical rainforests, ecology and Ecuadorian culture. The course utilizes the environment and community surrounding the site to enhance the learning experience. The course is field based with supporting discussions. Spanish is not required to participate in Pitt in Ecuador- all courses are taught in English. It is the perfect location and program to explore new ways of preserving biodiversity in the Amazonian forest and sustainability of Amazonian communities.

Lakota Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability & Indigenous Rights -
Study in the heart of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. On this 2-week, 3-credit program students get a feel for its past, present and future. They learn from local natives about their day-to-day life, culture and work on community-driven service-learning projects. Projects may be related to environmental sustainability, agricultural initiatives, programming on youth and education, cultural learning and indigenous rights. Students of all majors are welcome to apply. This program is ideal for any student interested in history, politics, environmental studies and anthropology.

Pitt in Amsterdam -
Amsterdam is regarded as a global leader in green urbanism. The city is well known for its alternative transportation model that focuses on biking and light rail. It is also on the forefront of many other endeavors, such as green building, a comprehensive park and green space network, water management, and an energy system that is transitioning away from fossil fuel.
Students will take classes on theories and concepts of the sustainable cities, and will have an opportunity to do field research on the topic of their interest.

Global Water Policy D.C. -
Explore U.S., Central Asian, and global perspectives on water management and environmental sustainability through this innovative study away program for undergraduates. On this one-week, 1-credit program, students will study competing perspectives on global water policy. Students will be introduced to the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations managing water equity. Students will look closely at the interconnections between policy, law, economics, and culture related to the environment. Participants will develop a portfolio of varied writing samples to use in applications for graduate programs and careers in policy while also creating their network of experts and organizations influential to the shaping of water and environmental policy in the U.S., Central Asia, and globally. This program is designed for students interested in political science, history, environmental studies, policy, law, business, economics and international studies.

Global Service Learning in Puerto Rico -
This program is designed for students with an interest in consulting and non-profit management who are seeking a hands-on, project-based experience that will allow them to develop professional skills while benefiting a global community partner. In Puerto Rico, we work with, Caras con Causa, an organization focused on community development through education and environmental preservation projects. This is a three credit course working on a semester-long project with a week of spring break spent in San Juan working directly with Caras. Program themes include sustainability, economic development, and innovation.

Engineering Sustainable Design and Innovation in Island Nations: Guam -
Island nations provide a unique learning opportunity to evaluate the complex task of engineering for sustainability. On small islands the connections between social, economic, and environmental impacts are more easily traced and the scale of the processes more readily tracked.

They often also present a unique and constrained set of material resources that have shaped indigenous cultural practices often spawning rare adaptations/designs.
Students will explore the context of engineering challenges/opportunities/tradeoffs for sustainability in Guam by considering social (culture, history, governance), environmental (natural resources, built infrastructure, environmental impacts of industry), and economic (socioeconomics/economic development) perspectives.

Clean Energy and Grid Engineering: Scandinavia -
Students learn about the current trends in renewable energy and grid technology.
This program introduces them to electric power transmission and distribution grid technologies dedicated to reliably, efficiently, economically, and safely managing electric power across utility networks in the U.S. and internationally. The course covers the application of various grid technologies from power generation through power consumption including transmission networks, grid automation, power electronics systems, communications and control, protection, grid operations, grid connectivity, renewable energy resource integration, cyber security, micorgrids, DC technologies, and other emerging areas, as well as a brief introduction to power utility markets, business processes, and policy/regulation.
Countries such as Denmark and Sweden have paved the pathway toward making renewable energy sources a large part of their energy usage. Sweden managed to reach its goal of a 50 percent renewable energy share and Denmark reported that 42.1 percent of the country's energy needs in 2015 were met by wind power according to the state-owned energy company

Engineering Design for Social Change: South Africa -
This is an experiential learning course designed to provide engineering minded students (may be from any major) with an introduction to designing solutions to complex problems that impact humanity. Students will see the social consequences of engineering decisions made by companies and other organizations in Africa and discuss the rationale that led to those decisions during meetings with leaders, engineers, and other representatives from those parties.
The course aims to provide students across a range of disciplines the opportunity to interact and work together to ideate and develop strategies for tackling both broad, complex problems and specific, service, and social focused challenges based on principles that are rooted in empathic engineering design. Students will contextualize what makes specific approaches for problem solving successful locally, regional, nationally, and internationally. The course will develop the students’ skills to work remotely with one another to iterate through the ideation and design process of problem-solving and to appreciate the social and cultural challenges that lie within. Themes include economics and development, sustainability and renewable resources, urban studies, infrastructure, and the built environment.

Energy for Better Environment - Brazil
More than 80 percent of Brazilian electricity is created through renewable energy sources, compared to only around 13 percent in the U.S.
Come with us to learn how the Brazilians have been able to create such innovative energy practices. This two-week, 3-credit course (for both graduates and undergraduates) focuses on issues of renewable energy and environmental sustainability in one of the leading green countries in the world. Through a combination of classroom lectures and site visits, students will gain an understanding of bio fuels, hydroelectric power, and emergent green energy technologies.


Website URL where information about the institution’s immersive education programs is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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