Undergraduates

Fundamentals of Equity in the Sustainable Built Environment

This tool introduces students to the different ways in which equity can be deeply embedded in the design of the built environment, in different phases from beginning to end. It encourages students to consider equity more comprehensively as a foundational component of sustainability. This tool is grounded in the following three key documents: Inclusion by Design (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment [CABE]), Getting Beyond Green Report (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP]), and the SLS Teaching Tool: Introduction to Equitable and Sustainable Development.

Environmental Justice and the UN SDGs: A WAWA Case Study

The purpose of this tool is to introduce students to the work of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) and the history of the Proctor Creek watershed, and to situate this work within the context of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities. Students will first explore the interactive WAWA StoryMap, which describes the history of environmental racism that led to the pollution of the Proctor Creek watershed and the work of WAWA and the local community in restoring the area. If more background is needed on the concepts of environmental justice and environmental racism, the use of this tool can be prefaced by using part or all of the SLS Environmental Justice 101 tool.

An Introduction to Climate Resilience

Climate change poses numerous and multi-faceted threats to existing ecological and social systems. Climate resilience is the concept of anticipating climate-related stresses to these systems in order to increase their capacity to adapt to climate change, although definitions of resilience vary based on discipline and the systems being examined. Assessment of climate vulnerability, or the degree to which systems and communities are susceptible to the effects of climate change, informs efforts to increase resilience. This tool defines and gives examples of climate resilience and vulnerability through the lens of three areas of research underway at Georgia Tech. First, students will view slides explaining climate resilience and climate vulnerability. Students will then view videos featuring three Georgia Tech faculty describing how their work contributes to enhancing climate resilience. Finally, students will discuss the connections they have made between key concepts in climate resilience and the role of research in developing strategies for climate adaptation.

This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood and Ben Shipley.

Storytelling Equity

This tool facilitates meaningful discussions on equity through the lens of storytelling. The goal of the tool is to help science and technology students use narrative as a method of quickly testing ideas. As Jeremy Ackerman claims, “Telling a story is a much faster way of rapid prototyping than actually trying to create prototypes.” By creating and shaping stories we can learn more about ourselves, others, and the problems we seek to solve. As we know, “the United States is rich with the stories of the diverse groups that make up this country. […] Not all stories, however, are equally acknowledged, affirmed or valued.” (The Storytelling Project, Lee Anne Bell and Rosemarie Roberts). By creating and shaping stories to serve the goals of their discipline students will acquire a better understanding of what equity means, where it lacks, and how to foster it.

Resources for Teaching about the SDGs

Use these resources to help students learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You may assign readings, find organizations to work with, or simply ask your students to explore what’s available. General resources related to the UN SDGs are compiled below, followed by a short blurb about each SDG and references to related research at Georgia Tech where applicable. This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood.

Sustainable Cities and Communities: SDG 11

This tool will take a closer look at the 11th UN Sustainable Development Goal, Sustainable Cities and Communities, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Students will then use the elements that comprise progress towards the goal as a way to frame their reading of 3 large infrastructure projects, including the Los Angeles River Revitalization, the Cultural Trail, and the 5280 Trail, followed by two options for activities evaluating one or more of these projects according to the 10 Sustainable Cities and Communities Targets.

This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood.

Kendeda Building Water, Energy, and Materials Tour

This is a video-guided in-person tour of the Kendeda building, focused on the Water, Energy, and Materials Petals of the Living Building Challenge.  While on the tour, students are asked to reflect on a few aspects of equity and inclusion, which they later submit through a Canvas assignment.  The video tour can be accessed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD8413uu74Q&feature=youtu.be

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Leavey

Interested in additional Kendeda tours?  Check out our Equity Petal Tour tool HERE.

Kendeda Building Equity Petal Tour

This is a video-guided in-person tour of the Kendeda building, focused on the Equity Petal of the Living Building Challenge.  While on the tour, students are asked to reflect on a few aspects of equity and inclusion, which they later submit through a Canvas assignment.  The video tour can be accessed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVNYrABwnmA&feature=youtu.be

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Leavey

Interested in other Kendeda tours?  Check out our Water, Energy, and Materials Tour tool HERE.

Centering Racial Equity

In July 2020, Serve-Learn-Sustain held a virtual panel discussion entitled “Centering Racial Equity in Equitable and Sustainable Development." Panel guests included Nicole Moore, Director of Education at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director of the TransFormation Alliance; and Carol Hunter, Executive Director of the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, with discussion facilitated by Rebecca Watts Hull, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist with Serve-Learn-Sustain. During the event, the panelists discussed the organizations they are a part of and their work advancing racial equity within the communities they serve.

An Introduction to Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure refers to an interconnected, multifunctional network of greenspace and natural areas that shapes and is shaped by environmental, economic, social, and health outcomes in communities. It may refer to a wide array of natural features, engineered structures, or managed interconnected networks of green space and their associated ecosystem services, including parks, stormwater management features, greenways and trails, green streets, and watershed restoration projects, among other types of green spaces.

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