Student-Originated Studies: Environmental Community-Based Learning and Action

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Spring 2019 quarter

Taught by

geography, environmental studies


Students must have a background in community-based learning and must make arrangements to carry out a focused project within an organized community center, workshop, agency, organization, or school setting.

This Student-Originated Studies (SOS) program is intended for upper-division students, with a background in community-based learning, who have made arrangements to carry out a focused internship within an organized community center, workshop, agency, organization, or school setting. The range of work suited to this program includes working on environmental/sustainability issues in an official capacity at a community agency, organization, or school; working with one or more community members to learn about a special line of work or skills that enriches the community as a whole; or designing a community-action plan aimed at solving a particular community challenge.

Students in this program will work together as a team to identify common learning objectives and activities, including readings about community-based learning and relevant social and environmental issues, with associated seminar papers; skill-building workshops to enhance the effectiveness of community internships; guest appearances by community leaders; and site visits to internship locations.

A combination of internship and academic credit will be awarded. Students may arrange an internship of up to 36 hours a week for a 12-credit internship. Internship credits will be awarded for full compliance with in-program internship contracts, and internship credit equivalencies will be tailored to the nature of each internship. 4 academic credits in the theory and practice of community-based learning will be awarded to students who (a) come to all weekly seminars prepared to discuss reading assignments; (b) submit assigned seminar papers; (c) post daily journal entries; (d) submit a brief, summative essay at the end of the quarter about their community experience; and (e) fully participate as part of the SOS team. Additional academic credit will be earned by some students in compensation for lower internship hours, according to work plans prepared individually at the beginning of the quarter, in consultation with the faculty member.

Program Details

Fields of Study

community studies environmental studies field studies sustainability studies

Preparatory For

This student-originated studies program will provide knowledge, contacts, and essential experience for students interested in working on a wide variety of community issues in the future.


Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online