Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Adrienne Cachelin
Associate Director, Global Change and Sustainability Center
Environmental & Sustainability Studies
"---" 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:

Environmental & Sustainability Studies Internships
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

SUST 6000: Global Changes & Society
This project-based course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to research related to global changes and sustainability. In this course, students from different disciplines Identify a theme or focus area, and develop a specific project to be addressed during the course of the semester. This course was IN-24 Innovation A described in STARS 2017.
URL: https://environment.utah.edu/students/gcsc-courses/

Anthropology Field Schools
Field schools include a Culture, ecology, and sustainability field schools that offers studnets an opportunity to culture, history, and ecological sustainability through an anthropological and ecological lens,
URL: https://anthro.utah.edu/fieldschools/

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/

Center for Ecological Planning + Design (CEPD)
The Center for Ecological Planning and Design’s mission is to draw on multiple disciplines to understand and shape our environment by interweaving research and practice in human, biophysical, and built systems – people, place and design. The Center was founded in 2011, as the Ecological Planning Center, the name changed in 2017 and a new partnership was formed with GCSC.
URL: http://cepd.cap.utah.edu/about-us/

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/

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/

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


Janelle Hanson, Merging Research and Design, July 3, 2017 @theU. Describes the creation of the Center for Ecological Planning and Design, a partnership between the College of Architecture + Planning and Global Change & Sustainability Center.


Individual courses also offer immersive experiences, for example,

Exploring Environmental Change in Cataract Canyon, OCT 2019.
URL: https://environment.utah.edu/category/research/climate-change/
An interdisciplinary cohort of GCSC faculty joined government researchers and community partners over Fall Break for a week-long trip down the Colorado River to explore environmental change in Cataract Canyon.


Sphere of Sustainability: Lessons from the University of Utah’s Global Changes and Society Course Walsh, T., Miller, O., Bowen, B., Levine, Z., and Ehleringer, J. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 2015 141:12. Authored by students from the 2012 SUST 6000 course, this paper outlines the benefits of an interdisciplinary, problem-based course:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.