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Liaison Amy Knisley
Submission Date Aug. 24, 2016
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STARS v2.0

Warren Wilson College
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Alison Climo
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
Institutional Effectiveness
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Does the institution offer at least one immersive, sustainability-focused educational study program that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

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

Warren Wilson College offers sustainability-focused immersive programs through its Study Abroad, Internships and Break Trips programs.
1) STUDY ABROAD
WWC’s Office of International and Intercultural Programs offers qualified students the educational opportunity to travel on a partially funded international or cross-cultural course or study abroad program that complements the college's mission of academics, work, and service. Many of these courses immerse students in the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability, and use sustainability as a cultural lens. Here are examples of the 2013-16 courses that offer this experience:

Malta: Farming, Food, and Landscape: An Insider’s View
EDU 377, 4 credits
Much like a border town, Malta is a Mediterranean gateway for those traveling south to Northern Africa and north to Southern Italy. Maltese narratives embody this island nation’s diverse cultural influences, its rugged landscapes, and the bounty of life that comes from farm and sea to table. Drawing from works of authors and inhabitants of this region and examining agricultural practices, students will gain an understanding of the role that geography, history, cultural influences and climate have had shaping Maltese farming traditions and stories. Through the application of experiential and intercultural learning theories and the travel experience, students will produce their own narrative projects focused on particular topics that they will develop throughout the course; on-campus, during travel, and in reflection. In addition to regular class meetings on campus throughout Semester II, the course will include at least two service-learning trips to local gardens and farms in our region. Travel in Malta will include visits to various cultural sites, farms and communities.

Bahamas Coral Reef Conservation
BIO 377, 4 credits
This course is an introduction to coral reef ecology and conservation in the Bahamas. Through lectures, discussion, and student presentations, we will learn about basic oceanography and coral reef ecology including threats and management. We will also learn about the marine resource issues facing the Bahamas, and how Bahamian fishermen and conservationists are adapting to reef degradation. Relevant Bahamian geography, history, and cultural concerns will be researched and presented by students using Bahamas Saga as a primary source. This is a novel of historical fiction that connects the history of the Carolinas with the history of the Bahamas.

Environment, Adventure and Tourism in Armenia
ODL 377, 4 credits
This course is designed to explore human interactions with the natural environment through an international lens, by focusing on the environment and culture of the Republic of Armenia. Armenia is an ancient culture, steeped in tradition and rich in natural beauty. Students will travel to a land of spectacular scenery, including mountain peaks, lush forests, sub-alpine meadows, high deserts, and alpine lakes. The course will focus on the natural environment, the present-day issues threatening it, and the ways in which the Armenian people enjoy, understand and interact with it. Students will be immersed in the local culture, with its fascinating blend of Armenian tradition, post-soviet influence, and present-day modernity.

Natural and Cultural Histories of Alaska
ENS 37X, 4 credits
Pre-requisite: ENS 116 Introduction to Environmental Studies
Students will learn about Alaska’s natural and cultural history as it relates to environmental issues, focusing on the region’s major natural resources and geological features and meeting with Native American communities, commercial fishermen and others in the region who rely on these resources for employment, cultural heritage or recreation. Participants will also gain an understanding of Alaska’s unique geology and participate in gathering traditional foods of the region. Good physical condition, primitive camping experience, and flexible diet are required. Students must also be comfortable around water, boats and cool, wet weather. Travel will take place in August.

Change, Continuity, and Environmental Issues in China
PSC 37X, 4 credits
China is both an ancient culture and one of the most important players on the modern world stage. This course explores change and continuity in modern China, with a particular emphasis on environmental issues. Focusing on both urban and rural areas, students will be exposed to China’s broad, complex history through Mao’s revolution and post-Mao developments, including recent environmental practices and concerns. Travel plans include several days in Beijing and homestays and a service

Costa Rica - BIO 37X: Tropical Ecology and Education
Tropical forests are incredibly rich centers of biodiversity and are also a focus of major environmental concern due to their current rate of destruction. This upper-level biology course introduces students to tropical ecology and conservation issues, focusing on the diverse systems of Costa Rica. After an on-campus semester of studying ecosystems, species interactions, biodiversity, and environmental and cultural issues, the group will spend 2-3 weeks in Costa Rica. Exploring different ecosystems, students will become more familiar with the ecology and natural history of each area, the cultural systems that impact them, and current conservation efforts. Service projects are planned that will enable the group to become directly involved with local conservation efforts.

2) INTERNSHIPS
The College has established partnerships with internship/employment sites that invite students to propose or partner to design internships that meet both the student’s and the organization’s needs. Partners include: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), a local food organization; Asheville GreenWorks, an urban environmental conservation organization; the City of Asheville Office of Sustainability; Environmental Quality Research Institute; Great Smokey Mountain Institute

3) BREAK TRIPS
Week-long Break Trips are led by student leaders over fall and spring break and are often sustainability focused. In the 2014-15 year, sustainability focused break trips included

Farming, Gardening, and Handcrafting, in Kimberton Hills, in Kimberton PA and in partnership with Camphill Village an intentional community for adults with developmental disabilities.

Clearing the Path for the Future of the Cumberland Island Wilderness Preserve, in Cumberland Island, GA and in partnership with the National Park Service.

The Changing Landscape of Detroit in Detroit, MI, partnering with Brother Nature/Earthworks and Capuchin Soup Kitchen/Repair the World/D-Town Farm.

Marine Education, in Virginia Beach (VA), partnering with the Virginia Beach Aquarium.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and partnering with Seas the Day.

Grassroots: The Fundamentals, in Appalachia, VA and partnering with the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards.

On Rock? Rock On! in Muir Valley/Red River Gorge, KY and partnering with Friends of Muir Valley.


The website URL where information about the immersive program(s) is available:

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