Course Affiliation Information

Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) - Affiliated Courses & Projects: Description & Affiliation Form
Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) has two core introductory courses—Sustainable Systems and Communities (SLS 3120) and Sustainable Community Principles (SLS 3110)—and a number of affiliated courses across Tech, identified by the section code “SLS.” We aim for the number of affiliated courses to grow every semester. We also affiliate with SLS-related projects (e.g., research, staff, or student organizations). The information below explains what it means to be an SLS-affiliated course/project. It concludes with a link to our Request for SLS Affiliation Form.

What is an SLS-affiliated course/project?

SLS-affiliated courses/projects address the SLS theme “creating sustainable communities,” through content and, ideally, community interaction or service-learning opportunities. The following types of courses/projects will be considered for SLS affiliation. These include courses/projects that fit into one or more of these categories:

  1. Take “sustainable communities” as a key theme. Examples include Environment, Energy, & Society (EAS 3110), Sustainable Urban Development (CP 2233), Environmental Technology in the Developing World (CEE 4803B), and Special Topics: Smart Cities in Spain and Latin America (Spanish 3813-H). These courses/projects address sustainability as a holistic concept linking social, economic, and environmental dimensions, with case studies or actual community engagement experiences demonstrating how this integration plays out in particular social contexts and contributes to creating communities that care for people and nature now and in the future.
  2. Take one or more of our 50+ GT sustainable communities “BIG IDEAS” as a key theme or suggest another BIG IDEA) and teach it in reference to sustainable communities as defined in #1 above.
  3. Take either sustainability or community as a key theme, ideally with reference to the other through a unit, assignment, etc.
  4. Regularly include sustainable communities-related projects or activities, e.g. in capstone design or project-based courses.
  5. Another type that you want to propose—this is a work-in-progress, so please suggest something!

How much service-learning or community engagement has to be included?

There is no set amount. Some courses or projects will expose students to key concepts/methods and will include interactions with community partners, through guest speakers, assignments, or field trips, but no service-learning. Others may include deeper community experiences, from small to full semester projects, whether service-learning or socially/environmentally related capstone design projects.

Benefits to being an SLS-affiliated course:

  • Attract students from a variety of disciplines, through SLS marketing efforts
  • Get priority assistance in developing sustainable communities course content and connecting to partners and projects
  • Receive invitations to participate in exclusive SLS activities bringing together faculty, staff, students, and partners, such as showcases, field trips, and special sessions with guest speakers
  • Apply for mini-grants or course/project development grants available only to faculty/staff who have worked with SLS
  • SLS is exploring developing a minor, and affiliated courses will be considered for inclusion 

Commitments of SLS-affiliated courses/projects:

  • Introduce the course/project to your students/participants as an SLS-affiliated course/project, highlighting “sustainable communities” as an important theme, and revisit this theme at different points during the semester (SLS can help you!)
  • Provide SLS with information on your course/project to include in our marketing materials
  • Provide SLS with a copy of your syllabus to be shared publicly
  • Include the SLS logo and a short statement about SLS on your syllabus (provided by SLS)
  • Coordinate with the SLS Academic Assessment Manager to do some basic assessment of SLS Learning Outcomes (select courses may be asked if they're willing to work with SLS on more in depth assessment) 
  • Encourage your students to explore other SLS courses and engagement opportunities
  • Invite SLS staff to speak to your students about SLS and, when applicable, to document any special activities

Interested in becoming an SLS-affiliated course? Submit a Request for SLS Affiliation Form or contact Jennifer Hirsch, Director of the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, to discuss: 224-392-5608.

Another option: SLS-related courses: If your course does not fit the affiliation criteria above but covers a topic you feel is good for students interested in sustainable communities to learn, consider listing it as an SLS-related course. Examples include courses focused on underlying concepts key to gaining an in-depth understanding of sustainability or community, such as economics, equity, or natural resources. Please complete the same form below and mark the “related” option.