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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.03
Liaison Heather Lynch
Submission Date Oct. 4, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Saint Michael's College
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 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:

Saint Michael’s College offers numerous immersive academic experiences via its Academic Study Trips (faculty-led; 2-3 weeks in duration); students receive academic preparation for these trips through coursework or readings/assignments; trips involve intense study and research.

Costa Rica Tropical Ecology Study Experience:
This study tour provides an introduction to tropical ecology including tropical climates and topography and their effects on ecosystems. The sites include a tropical dry forest at Palo Verde National Park, a mid-elevation cloud forest at Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and a premontane rain forest at Selve Verde Preserve. Activities include guided hikes, our own group hikes, early morning bird walks, a boat ride, and night hikes. Students generate study questions from observations made on the field trips and on the last full day at each site students gather data for a study that they have designed. Students analyze and interpret the data and give oral presentations on their studies. Students also keep a field journal on plants and animals we encounter and on their observations on conservation, ecotourism impacts, and sustainable development.

Wales - Environmental Study of Sustainable Places:
This two-week study abroad course in May focuses on how Wales in the United Kingdom has integrated ecological sustainability throughout its culture, institutions, art, and policies. Cultural and environmental field studies, on-site guest lectures, exchange of research and artistic projects with University of Wales students and faculty will complement coursework.

Cuba – Coral Reefs and Culture:
This 2-credit course is an intensive 12-day field study trip to study coral reefs and associated habitats in Cuba which has some of the most pristine reefs in the Caribbean. The course will focus on the health and diversity of several reefs that have been studied by SMC students since 2013 in collaboration with scientists from the University of Havana’s Marine Institute. Underwater transect and quadrat analysis are used to compare the levels of coral diversity and coverage on reefs that have different levels of human influences (e.g., pollution, agriculture, tourism). Studying the coral reef ecosystem facilitates and understanding and appreciation of the intricate inter-relationships within an extraordinarily complex biological community. In addition, this fragile ecosystem provides an opportunity to observe and analyze the impact of various environmental threats, both natural and anthropogenic, such as coastal development, pollution and global climate change. A secondary goal of the trip is to provide students with the opportunity to observe the cultural changes that are taking place in this unique country which has had a tumultuous relationship with the U.S.


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