I had the honor and pleasure to be there when Serve-Learn-Sustain officially opened in January 2016. During Spring 2016 I had the opportunity to work on new SLS projects - like the Big Ideas - and see their developments from a scratch on a piece of paper to a webpage, exciting! In the same period, my PUBP-4813 Climate Policy class - in collaboration with the Office of Campus Sustainability - did the first Waste Audit project at GT, sponsored by SLS. It was a valuable and fun experience: students not only collected and sorted trash (!) but they also produced a quantitative analysis of the impacts of waste management on the GT Climate Action Plan.
My SLS experience was so positive that I wanted be more involved in their activates for this academic year. So, I asked for the SLS course affiliation for both my PUBP 3315 Environment Politics and Policy class and my Climate Policy class. In class, I have the opportunity to describe what SLS is doing and what students can do to be engaged in serving, learning and sustaining the GT community and our neighborhood communities. Many of my students attended the Environmental Justice series and it was a joy to see their passion when they described their experiences in class.
This semester, SLS is supporting another class project on the GT Climate Action Plan. This project – in collaboration with the Office of Campus Sustainability and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory - will allow students to apply their academic knowledge to a practical assignments on climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies for GT. Students will be able to identify inter-temporal relationships among ecological, social and economic systems in the context of climate change. They will also assess the impacts of individuals, firms, and countries’ choices on other entities at different space and time scales.
Finally, SLS is not only part of my teaching activities but also part of my research projects. In fact, last semester I had the opportunity to be part of the SLS Food-Energy-Water Systems Fellowship program which aims to explore sustainable community-building through the integrated lens of food, energy, and water systems, and to help participants begin to develop research proposals. It was an excellent experience from different perspectives. First, I have met new faculty and started new collaborations. Second, I have learned what faculty around campus are working on and found novel, interesting research questions. Third, I have visited three new places: Southface, the Water hub at Emory University, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and learned more about Atlanta.
What else? SLS for me is a familiar place at Clough where ideas are always welcomed with enthusiasm and there is always something new to learn to better serve and sustain today’s and future generations.