Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.91
Liaison Allie McAllister
Submission Date Nov. 25, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Villanova University
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused immersive program(s) offered by the institution:

Villanova offers various sustainability-focused immersive programs in a few different disciplines. Each are listed and described below.

1) Augustine and Cultural Seminar (ACS) Environmental Learning Community
This program includes a humanities seminar that focuses holistically on the question "Who Am I?" in relation tho the natural environment and human culture. Students participate in a one-credit workshop style class called Villanova Experience (VEXP) that meets weekly to explore effective communications, issues and their impact on the natural world, ways to care for the natural world, and small group activities. Students all live together in a on-campus residence hall and participate in of-campus field trips to locations such as organic urban farms, eco-housing developments, and manufacturers of Eco-friendly products.

URL: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/learningcommunities/residents/environmental.html

2) Engineering Service Learning Trips.
All Engineering Service learning projects are designed with the objective to developing organizational sustainability within each partner community. Students act as outside consultants providing technical support and engineering design analysis. The goal of all projects is to support projects and partner organizations so that they may be self sustaining within their own communities. Students participating in trips may also be involved in sources, capstone projects, or independent studies which relate to and support trips. In addition to participating in a week-long trip to partner countries, students are involved in ongoing design and implementation meetings prior to and following each trip. Trips are in five locations. Each trip is described below.

URL: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/engineering/service/learning.html

A) Cambodia: College of Engineering students travel to Cambodia to support development efforts at the Caramanico School, built by Anne and Thomas Caramanico PE, CE ’71, MSCE ’83. This program focuses on the design and implementation of a model school for demonstrating best-practices in education and sustainability. 

B) Water for Waslala - Nicaragua: This service learning opportunity leads engineering students to the central mountains of Nicaragua to evaluate and develop water resources, renewable energy and communication systems. 

C) Cheypo Bayano Mission - Panama: Work with missionary priest Father Wally involves the development of a water resources master plan, flood control and prevention, and the use of solar array to provide for the community’s energy needs

D) SITMo and Stairway Foundation - Philippines: Development initiatives in the Philippines are aimed at improving the quality of life for people living in isolated communities. Projects include water supply, agricultural mechanization, micro-hydro electrification and solid waste management. The University is presenting working with Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo) and The Stairway Foundation.

E) Profugo - India: Students work to develop a Center for Sustainability within community. The main focus of this program is to design a community center that focuses on sustainability and provides workshops related to sustainability topics such as agriculture, water, and the environment.

3) Campus Ministry Service Break Trips: These trips are week long experiences which allow students, faculty, staff and alumni to get involved in serving the community. Through service and reflections, volunteers are transformed by identifying their connection with our global community as they experience another culture, spirituality, and socio-economic situation. We challenge our participants to become global citizens - not just citizens of the United States - as they use their education to change the lives of the poor. We hope this experience helps the volunteer to develop a personal commitment to making the world a better place by calling attention to the injustices of racism, poverty, sexism, etc. Trips specifically related to sustainability are described below.

URL: http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/mission/campusministry/service/breakexperiences/listing.html

A) Bethlehem Farm - West Virginia: Located in central Appalachia, Bethlehem Farm is an intentional Catholic community that strives to transform lives through serving the local community and teaching sustainability. During the week at the Farm, volunteers work the surrounding community, pray together, learn about and from the people of Appalachia, and experience ways of practicing and living a sustainable life. Volunteers may find themselves doing a variety of work, from working alongside a family in repairing their home to practicing sustainability by working the farm and preparing the food it produces. This is a great domestic mission experience focused on the Farm’s four cornerstones of service, prayer, simplicity, and community.
URL: http://www.bethlehemfarm.net/main/

B) Rancho Mastatal - Costa Rica - Environmental Service Experience: During this week of immersion, students live on Rancho Mastatal, an environmentally sustainable ranch.  Students learn practices of sustainability by living at the ranch, and they have opportunities to learn first-hand from the tropical forests of Mastatal.  Students also have opportunities to learn about the economic and cultural make-up of the local Costa Rican communities, and each student participates in 2-3 home stays in the Mastatal community.  Throughout the week, students may work on rain forest restoration projects on the ranch, in parks and in gardens.  Furthermore, students may have an opportunity to visit local schools in order to better understand the Costa Rican educational system.  Students learn the positives and the challenges associated with Costa Rica's free public education.
URL: http://www.ranchomastatal.com

C) Navajo Nation: NM, Via International - Northern New Mexico is one of the most unique and culturally distinct areas of the United States. It is the home of both ancient Native American communities and pueblos founded long before the inception of the United States.  Traditional Navajo refer to themselves as Dine'. The real name for Navajo Nation is Dinetah. Visiting Dinetah  offers a rare opportunity to connect with ourselves, each other, and the natural world through a unique blend of cultural immersion, environmental intimacy, and service opportunities that can be deeply inspiring and transformational. Volunteers will enjoy the beauty of the natural world while exploring a sense of place and relation thanks to the deep traditions and cultures of the region. Volunteers will stay on a farm that uses both modern and traditional agricultural practices and visit with Navajo people. Work may include farming, construction, water conservation or land and cultural restoration efforts in local and native communities. This trip is directly related to sustainability due to the fact that the farm aims to be as fully self-reliant as possible, implementing the use of as many local resources as possible before relying on outside materials.
URL: http://www.viainternational.org/new-mexico.html

D) Costa Rica, Playa Hermosa: Volunteers will work and stay at the Playa Hermosa Turtle Reserve on the west coast of Costa Rica. The primary focus of this trip is global conservation.  The reserve's main purpose is to protect the Olive Ridley sea turtles, which are poached in Costa Rica.  Volunteers will be involved in everything from finding nests, digging up eggs, relocating them to a hatchery, and bringing hatched baby sea turtles to the sea.  Most of the work is done at night when turtles lay their eggs.  The days will be spent learning about protecting the environment, miscellaneous work around the reserve, and cleaning beaches.  This is an educational site that employs hands on experiential learning techniques using the coast as the classroom. You will also have the opportunity to work with Costa Rican high-school students from La Gloria Colegio and in a local elementary school.  Almost all work is outdoors, experiencing firsthand the environment of Costa Rica, and working to protect it.   

E) Camden, NJ - Center for Environmental Transformation: The Center for Environmental Transformation’s goal is to provide you opportunities to reach deeper understandings of your connection to the earth and to those communities and people who often disproportionately bear the environmental costs of our 21st century lifestyle.  Volunteers will participate in Hands-­on projects in the neighborhood such as: gardening, greening lots, working with children, and demolition projects, Eco-­reality tours of the neighborhood and city.  In addition, volunteers take part in interactive learning sessions on sustainability, environmental justice, Camden and its history, becoming agents of change, etc.
URL: http://camdencenterfortransformation.org

The website URL where information about the immersive program(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.