Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.55
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date April 5, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Utah
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Amy Brunvand
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:

The Environmental and Sustainability Studies program (ENVST) provides students with the opportunity to pursue environmentally based community internships for credit within the program. all ENVST students do an immersive experience in their capstone courses including Community Engaged Learning. Information on this program can be found at:
URL: http://envst.utah.edu/students/internships/information.php

Learning Abroad in Costa Rica (Environmental & Sustainability Studies, ENVST 5800)
Study the impacts of ancient farming methods, food production, tourism, and land conservation on Costa Rica’s environment. This program studies the impact and interaction of these social, economic and environmental systems. Visit this exemplar for the conservation of natural resources and economic sustainability. Tourism and high-tech exports have supplanted Costa Rica’s traditional agricultural export economy which includes coffee and bananas. Now, Costa Rica’s 12 distinct ecological zones draw eco-tourists who discover rain forests, rugged mountains, active volcanoes, and beaches along two oceans—all within a country the size of West Virginia.

Design Build Bluff (College of Architecture + Planning)
Offers students an immersive hands-on opportunity to design and build a full-scale work of architecture in collaboration with the Navajo people. We emphasize sustainability and a respect for the unique social, cultural, and environmental needs of the region. Students are encouraged to explore alternative building methods, unique materials, and innovative solutions. It is, in a way, the ultimate sustainability to use elements naturally at hand, within reach, both physically and economically.
URL: http://www.designbuildbluff.org/

Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa
Comprises 400 acres of riparian corridor adjacent to the Dolores River, a major tributary of the Colorado River. The field station provides opportunities for field-based interdisciplinary research, education, and other academic pursuits that emphasize ecology and the environment, human-environment interaction, or sustainable living on the Colorado Plateau. Facilities are available for research, classes, workshops, and writers- and artists-in-residence. URL: http://riomesa.utah.edu/

Taft-Nicholsen Center (College of Humanities)
16 acres, located west of Yellowstone National Park in the Centennial Valley of Montana. As an official extension of the University of Utah campus, the Taft-Nicholson Center works to bridge the arts and humanities with the sciences. Our mission is to increase environmental literacy, boost environmental awareness and inspire personal connection to nature and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Students, teachers, artists, scientists and community members participate in the Center’s diverse educational programming—sharing their perspectives on the natural world and preparing themselves to create change in positive and meaningful ways.
URL: http://taft-nicholson.utah.edu/

Lowell Bennion Community Service Center
The Bennion Center fosters lifelong service and civic participation by engaging the university with the greater community in action, change and learning. The Center sponsors programs including Alternative Breaks, Community Engaged Learning, and Community Engaged Scholars, and helps students set up internships and fellowships. The Bennion Center’s Alternative Breaks program supports students seeking deeply engaged learning experiences that create profound personal growth. Students are immersed in specific issue-based community projects such as restoring ecosystems, rehabilitating injured animals, providing support to women living in poverty, and serving people living with homelessness, hunger and illness.
URL: http://bennioncenter.org/

Learning Abroad Center serves as a search portal for study abroad programs that are run by other organizations. More information can be found at:
URL: https://apply.learningabroad.utah.edu/

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


Ehleringer, Jim, Shaun Daniel, Sylvia Torti, Brenda Bowne, Tom Parks. (2016) "Embedded in Nature: The University of Utah Field Stations. University of Utah. 120 pp.

Cachelin, A., Rose, J.,& Rumore, D., (2016) Leveraging Place for Critical Sustainability Education: The Promise of Participatory Action Research. Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 11. http://www.jsedimensions.org/wordpress.

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.