Environmental Justice (EJ) is concerned with making sure that (a) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (b) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation. The Environmental Justice Movement challenges environmental injustices, with a special focus on racial and class disparities, in the U.S. and around the globe. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:
What EJ is – and what environmental injustices are;
How the EJ movement works to address EJ issues (especially in the U.S. South, where the movement was born) with close attention to injustices related to race and class;
The different types of roles that scientists and engineers in particular can play in this work.
This tool was contributed by Jennifer Hirsch. We also want to thank Fatemeh Shafiei from Spelman College for contributing to this tool.
This tool provides instructors with a focused reflective activity that asks students to make connections between their course and a co-curricular activity. Reflection related to co-curricular activities gives students time and space to critically examine the activity and understand its relevance to their learning in class. Some of the reflection questions require adaptation to suit course objectives.
The Flint Water Crisis is one of the most significant instances of environmental injustice in the 21st century. In this case study, read about the impact of the crisis on the natural world, as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, and learn about how we can use technology to create a safe, sustainable water system. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein nature, technology and society all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected.
Serve-Learn-Sustain is well on its way to having affiliated courses and projects in every department across Georgia Tech. Below, you will find sample syllabi from disciplines that cross the six colleges and schools. These syllabi include the suggested language for syllabi, and provide models for the different ways that you can incorporate SLS into your own courses.
This presentation tool, based on a lesson created by Yelena Rivera-Vale and Kristina Chatfield for their GT 1000 course, introduces first year students to community organizations working on initiatives in the local Atlanta area. Interviewing members, actively participating in organizational activities, and then reporting on these experiences allows students a chance to not only further explore the ways that Georgia Tech actively partners with community organizations but also offers a chance to see some of the successes produced by these partnerships first-hand.
This tool uses the ReGenesis case study from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to explore what it means to “create sustainable communities” through broad stakeholder engagement. Spartanburg was found to be experiencing higher levels of health issues due to chemical plants and other polluting factors in the area. ReGenesis, a community-based organization led by community member Harold Mitchell – now a member of the South Carolina legislature – worked with the EPA to use their Collaborative Problem Solving methodology to expose the inequity and turn the community around.
This tool was contributed by Kari Watkins and Delaney Rickles. The affiliated case study, "ReGenesis—A Practical Application of the CPS Model," was written by the EPA.
The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the most important urban renewal projects of the 21st century. In this case study, read about the ambitions, successes, and struggles of this project, now in its 12th year. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein environmental, economic, and social factors all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected. This tool was contributed by Dr. Bethany Jacobs.
The annotated case studies below are well-suited to courses across Georgia Tech that hope to engage their students in sustainability. Review the options available for your class, and don’t hesitate to recommend a new case study to SLS!
It's one thing to be able to articulate what sustainability means, and it's another thing to be able to communicate your ideas through visual design, but this poster design tool does both. Through this tool, students use poster campaigns to raise awareness about Georgia Tech's sustainability practices. While many students already have some skills with design software and photography, here they'll practice design skills using Adobe software available in the library, the Multimedia Studio, or through the Virtual Lab.
This journaling tool, based on a lesson created by Yelena Rivera-Vale and Kristina Chatfield, introduces first year students to Georgia Tech’s efforts to create a sustainable campus community. Touring sites on campus, documenting the tour experience through journaling and photography, and considering the ways that sustainable design can impact the environment, equity, and economy will teach students about how effective sustainable design impacts both Georgia Tech and the wider Atlanta community.