|Submission Date||March 1, 2019|
University of Richmond
AC-5: Immersive Experience
|2.00 / 2.00||
Director of Sustainability
Office for Sustainability
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:
Earth Lodge is a residential and academic experience which aims to offer an immersive experience that provides students an opportunity to engage in communal dialogue about human connections with nature, environmental issues, and sustainability. The community of students is required to take a class, which varies from year to year, but with a common goal to facilitate the involvement of students with their local ecosystem. The final project of the class focuses natural resource stewardship within the local environment. In the Fall 2016 & 2017 semesters, Earth Lodge students took “Geography of the James River Watershed,” GEOG/ENVR 2015 where they explored the five watersheds region of Portland, Oregon. The trip included extensive travel to follow the path of water from the Cascade Mountains, through old-growth forests and the fields of the Willamette Valley, and into the urban environment. Similarities and differences between the geography and human-natural resource challenges confronted in this region were compared to those observed in the James River watershed. Following the trip, students lived together for a year, taking the course in the fall and completing projects in the spring, with a focus on local water challenges in the James River. As part of the requirements of living in the community, students participated in short service learning activities at a local park. They also participated in a five-day experiential learning trip in the fall and a two-day trip in the spring.
The HCS 100 , “Healthcare, the Environment and Biomedicine’ Living-Learning Community offered in the Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 academic year combines residential and academic experience through an exploration of the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. Students participating in the experience live, travel and study together, taking HCS 100 “Healthcare Studies” to explore why and how over the last century, clean drinking water, modern sanitation, and good nutrition have increased the average life expectancy by over 35 years, yet disparities in overall health and life expectancy have increased dramatically in the U.S. Students also explore how improvements in environmental health and biomedicine have become increasingly concentrated in wealthier communities, while poorer communities have experienced striking declines in overall health and life expectancy. Students attend lectures by public and global health leaders, meet Richmond alumni working in the medical, health policy and public health fields, connect with UR’s medical and health policy student organizations, and attend programs and events. A component of the class is community-based learning (CBL). Students also engage in weekly service-learning at one of several different sites in the Richmond community over the course of ~15 hours in the fall semester. Students take two community trips to: (1) Shenandoah National Park in August just before UR starts for hiking, camping, and eco/nature therapy and (2) Bar Harbor Island, Maine over fall break to learn more about environmental health and biomedical research. During the spring semester, students work in groups with their classmates to create a capstone project and present it to the University community on a health policy or public health issue. https://livinglearning.richmond.edu/ssir/environmental-health/index.html
BIOL 120: “Out of the Sea” Living-Learning Community, offered in the Fall 2016 - Spring 2017 academic year combined residential and academic experience through an exploration of the connection between humans and the oceans. This course addressed the fact that human existence would not have been possible without the world's oceans, the role of oceans in human migration around the planet, and the fact that oceans control global climate, and are major factors in a global economy. Thus, they play an important role in any conversation about environmental challenges of the future. Students explored human-induced changes to global environments, and how oceans offer solutions to sustainable existence for an emerging 21st century. Outside of the classroom, students had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean to visit one of the regions where modern human populations from different parts of the globe crashed into each other 500 years ago. At the end of the fall semester, students visited Belize, where they snorkeled on the coral reefs in this part of the world to gain a first-hand appreciation of marine diversity, and the depth of our ocean roots. Students also visited historic sites in Belize and closer to home (e.g., the Chesapeake Bay), and visited Manchester Docks, a major port in the massive downriver slave trade that made Richmond the largest source of enslaved Africans on the east coast of American from 1830-60. Students’ work challenged them to think locally, nationally, globally, and historically as they confronted aspects of our shared human experience. Over the spring semester, students worked in groups to map the influence ocean’s have had on modern humans, explore their own connections to the world’s oceans, and assess ways that oceans might shape human’s future on this planet. https://livinglearning.richmond.edu/ssir/sea/index.html
Study Abroad: Many opportunities for meaningful engagement in sustainability are available to students through the University of Richmond Study Abroad program. The International Education of Students (IES) program in Freiburg, southwest Germany offers a program titled “Environmental Studies and Sustainability.” Also, the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Copenhagen, Denmark, offers a multitude of hands-on sustainability options. Additionally, the School for International Training (SIT), the School for Field Studies, and the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) provide field experiences in locations such as Australia, Madagascar, and the Caribbean.
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Earth Lodge, Geography of the James River: https://livinglearning.richmond.edu/ssir/james-river/index.html
HCS 100 , “Healthcare, the Environment and Biomedicine’ Living-Learning Community: https://livinglearning.richmond.edu/ssir/environmental-health/index.html
BIOL 120: “Out of the Sea” Living-Learning Community: https://livinglearning.richmond.edu/ssir/sea/index.html
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