Overall Rating Reporter
Overall Score
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Washington University in St. Louis
AC-5: Immersive Experience

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Cassandra Hage
Sustainability Manager
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?:
Yes

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:

Pathfinder Course in Environmental Sustainability
The Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability provides an association between small groups of highly motivated, talented undergraduate students and a senior faculty mentor. A clustered course work approach is used, augmented with case studies and field work that allow exploration of problems and solutions associated with selected challenges in environmental sustainability.

The Program begins during the freshman year with introductory during the fall semester with courses about the Earth (EPS 201, Earth and the Environment), environmental sustainability (Path 201, Land Dynamics), and a writing course coordinated with the environmental sustainability course (Writing 1). Second semester freshman year focuses on a case study of the Mojave Desert (Path 202, Case Study of the Mojave National Preserve). The fall semester sophomore year includes a case study of Hawaii and issues associated with volcanism, earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis (Path 301, Case Study of Hawaii, the Big Island). Field work is done in the Mojave Desert in California over freshman spring break and on the Big Island over sophomore winter break.

The Program is consistent with a major within any department within the College of Arts and Sciences. Further, the courses meet Arts and Sciences requirements for the freshman writing course, a science course, a social science course, and one of three required integrations within the Arts and Sciences Integrated Query.

#704B Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic
Clinic participants engage in complex, multi-party litigation and advocacy as part of an interdisciplinary team: generally, law students are partnered with students from the engineering, arts & sciences, medical, business, or social work schools. Students develop their lawyering skills acting as the ―first-chair‖ in their cases and through extensive interaction with experienced Clinic attorneys. The Clinic‘s cases tackle some of the most challenging and important water, air, and environmental justice problems in the nation. In addition, students will learn a great deal about public interest law, as most of the clients are non-profit organizations and under-represented communities. The experience is universally helpful to the practice of law; previous experience or interest in environmental issues is not required.

Sustainability Exchange: Community and University Practicums:
ENST 405 The Sustainability Exchange will bring together students working in trans-disciplinary teams to tackle real-world energy, environmental, and sustainability problems through an experiential form of education. Students will participate in projects with clients and partners on- or off-campus, developed with and guided by faculty advisors drawn from across the University, with the intention of delivering an applicable end-product that explores "wicked" problems requiring innovative methods and solutions. These projects matter to the client or partner. The team-based project will be complemented by a seminar that will explore the field of design and design thinking through problem solving strategies and methodologies drawn from a wide range of creative practices, including design, engineering and science, as well as contemporary topics in energy, environment, and sustainability. Students will draw on these topics to influence their projects. This course is open to all undergraduate juniors and seniors.

Course: Design Studio – Architecture 500/600
The Graduate Program is offering an upper level studio in collaboration with Delft TU which focuses on the sustainable re-use of existing buildings. Students are expected to propose a comprehensive redesign strategy that incorporates environmental principles into technical solutions. The studio is team taught by Christof Jantsen,and our leading technical professor, Paul Donnelly.

Course: Alberti Program - Architecture for Young People
The mission of the Alberti Program - Architecture for Young People is to introduce principles of sustainable design, inspire experimentation with architecture, encourage problem solving, and introduce experiences within a University setting. The program targets students from disadvantaged backgrounds that attend ten different schools in the City of St. Louis. Student in the College and Graduate School of Architecture receive credit for teaching the course with a lead instructor. While students assist with teaching they are also involved in developing course materials and teaching issues of sustainability

A46 ARCH 350 Service Learning Course: Environmental Issues
This inter-disciplinary service learning experience allows WU students to bring their knowledge and creativity, about the many subjects they are studying, to students at the Compton-Drew Middle School, St. Louis City Public Schools, adjacent to the Science Center and the Henry Elementary School downtown (meeting time at Henry School to be determined). This course is for arts & science students of differing majors & minors, business, social work, architecture & art students, engineering students from all engineering departments. WU students will be learning about the creative process of lateral thinking ( synthesizing many variables, working in cycles, changing scales). WU students will work with a team-mate to experiment with the design of 2-d & 3-d hands-on problem solving workshops to give to small groups of students to accomplish at the Compton-Drew Middle School. WU students will devise investigations for the workshops about environmental issues embracing fields in the natural sciences, fields in the humanities, fields in the social sciences, fields in architecture, art and engineering, business, and the community. ( 83% of the students at Compton-Drew receive free lunches. ) In this course we celebrate the choices of studies we each pursue, and we expand our experience by gaining from each other's knowledge bases and from each person's particular creativity.

A46 ARCH 430B Special Topics: Designing for Energy Efficiency
The course will focus energy performance as it relates to design strategies using energy simulations to quantify the effect various design strategies have on building performance. The building orientation, thermal envelope, window specifications, glazing ratios, shading, air sealing, thermal bridging, thermal mass, ground contact, natural ventilation, and mechanical systems will be investigated on a weekly basis. The end of the course will result in a cumulative project which encompasses a whole building approach to energy efficient design. To meet these goals, the semester will be split into two parts. The first portion of the semester will focus on weekly design exercises meant to ensure the student's familiarity with the software and overall concepts. The final portion of the semester will allow the student to use energy simulation to update a design project from a previous studio course. Each of these projects will be specific to the individual student and focused on the energy efficiency design principles which relate to the type of building, occupancy, climate, and design aesthetics of the original project. Students will need to exhibit mastery of the concepts and techniques used throughout the semester in order to synthesize the existing constraints with energy efficiency, sustainability, and design excellence.

A46 ARCH 457B Segregation by Design: A Historical Analysis of the Impact of Planning and Policy in St. Louis
This transdisciplinary seminar, bridging humanities and architecture, introduces students to research, theories, and debates currently being conducted on issues of segregation, urban policy and sustainability. By placing these debates in a historical and local context students will discover how policy and decisions are entrenched with racial, cultural physical and socio-economic segregation, and create the spatial transformation of America's divided cities. Students will learn to evaluate and analyze policy and planning through the framework of Triple Bottom Line Sustainability to understand the physical manifestation of segregation during growth and decline.

A46 ARCH 462H Information Modeling for Sustainable Design
This course will focus on the principles of sustainable design as examined through Building Performance Analysis (BPA) and applied Building Information Modeling (BIM) methodology. The foundation for this course will be an introduction to BIM and BPA and the significance of both for the future of sustainable architectural design practice supported by analytical modeling. This emphasis on the suitability of building modeling for analytical purposes and on the interpretation of such data will provide the basic knowledge necessary for the second phase of this course, in which students will use a previous or current studio project for an in-depth study of their building's performance in the context of its chosen site. Exploring the interaction between the simulated environment (climate, isolation) and the virtual building with its physical characteristics (materials, assemblies, passive design strategies, heat transfer, daylighting, embedded energy), we will attempt to confirm and test the principles of sustainable design at the schematic level of project development. The model analyzed by each team will provide sufficient comparative information for a design approach whose desired goal is carbon neutrality in the lifecycle of the building. Students will be encouraged to investigate the suitability of analytical modeling software, in the context of critical design methodology. Prerequisites for this course are a basic understanding of BIM methodology and insight into sustainable design practices.

A46 ARCH 564A Urban Development Seminar
The Urban Issues Symposium is an interdisciplinary course open to students in architecture, law, business, urban design, social work, public health and public policy. Students and faculty from Washington University and Saint Louis University work in interdisciplinary teams to respond to projects in collaboration with local partners in the St. Louis region. During class, faculty members and subject experts present on multi-disciplinary aspects of development projects to help guide the work of class teams. Successful project deliverables require a holistic understanding of and engagement with the community, private property owners, various government agencies (e.g. streets and bikeways, economic development, planning design and use, housing), businesses, schools, and other relevant organizations and individuals. Components of the team response might include community participation, tax credit financing and other subsidies, collaborative planning, social capital building, design, land use, social services, environmental issues, and public-private partnerships. Interdisciplinary student teams are expected to meet regularly outside of class to discuss and prepare their team deliverable. In previous years, collaborative teams have tackled relevant challenges associated with developing and sustaining trail systems within the urban fabric of St. Louis as well as developing conceptual comprehensive strategic plans for the Spanish Lake community.

Madagascar Sustainability Initiative
The Madagascar Sustainability Initiative focuses on sustainable development in a rural community in Madagascar. After a semester learning about the economic, political, and sustainability issues facing the country, students develop projects to address deforestation and improve the lives of the people in Madagascar.


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