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Brian Bollinger is the Executive Director for Friends of Refugees in Clarkston, Georgia.  Friends of Refugees, founded in 1995, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower refugees through opportunities that provide for their well-being, education, and employment.  

I once read a quote from Karen Kearney at Georgia’s own Koinonia Farms that said, “Pay attention to what works in the garden, for what works in the garden may one day work in the world.” That echoed in my mind as I sat at the INSS conference this year. Considering all the ways that action and learning can connect around social sustainability, a clear picture of synchronized human and natural flourishing struck me most. We’re here to ruminate… more

Debra Edelson is the Executive Director of Emerald Corridor Foundation.  Emerald Corridor Foundation is dedicated to the healthy and sustainable revitalization of Proctor Creek and its surrounding neighborhoods in Northwest Atlanta. 

At Emerald Corridor Foundation, our main philosophy is that we “lead with green,” through revitalizing the environment and communities of northwest Atlanta’s Proctor Creek watershed. The foundation’s two main projects, the Proctor Creek Greenway and Proctor Park, will give west side residents new, safe, healthy access to the waterway that winds through their neighborhoods, 7 miles from where it daylights near the coming Beltline, all the way to the Chattahoochee River. Proctor Park will utilize principles of green infrastructure to slow flashy destructive storm water and filter out contaminants at the point the creek waters daylight onto the surface and into neighborhood homes and yards.  

By all accounts, these long overlooked… more

Dr. Jennifer Hirsch serves as the Director for the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain.  She is an applied cultural anthropologist specializing in community sustainability, cultural diversity, experiential education, and network building.

Serve-Learn-Sustain is proud to announce the official launch of our 2016-17 Environmental Justice Series! Environmental Justice is one of SLS’ key themes for this year—and we are grateful for our colleagues in College of Sciences who suggested it.

Check out our Fall Semester calendar here.

What is Environmental Justice—often referred to as “EJ”?

Here’s the definition we’re using: Environmental Justice 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 goal of the series is to generate serious conversation, examination, and action around… more

Suraj Sehgal is a 3rd year Industrial Engineering undergraduate student.

What is sustainability?

What makes up a sustainable community?

How should one properly engage with a community?

These are just some of the questions that we explored in the Sustainable Community Principles Class offered through the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain during the Spring 2016 semester. In this course, we were able to dive deep into various theories on sustainability as well as take a look at real life incidents that highlight the benefits that arise when undergoing a participatory research design, as well as the dangers of failing to engage the community.

Led by an amazing team of instructors from a variety of fields including Interactive Computing, College of Architecture, and Public Policy, this class was a unique opportunity to uncover the multiple facets inherent in the complex topic of… more

Dr. Jennifer Hirsch serves as the Director for the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain.  She is an applied cultural anthropologist specializing in community sustainability, cultural diversity, experiential education, and network building.

Serve-Learn-Sustain officially launched in January 2016, but the Center began operating in Fall 2015. My first day was August 17, 2015—the same day as the students. It has been a rollercoaster of a year—reaching out to faculty, students, and staff across campus and meeting new community, industry, and municipal partners, developing and rolling out new programs, launching and supporting courses, honing our mission and vision, and hiring new staff to make this all happen.

Thank you to all of our partners for your collaboration during our first year. Some of the most exciting things we’ve accomplished together during Year 1 include:

  • Launching and supporting SLS and Public Service Pathway courses—and affiliating with… more

A lecturer with the Georgia Tech Language Institute, Melissa Aberle-Grasse specializes in teaching writing and service-learning, a course which takes students to a nearby community to tutor and practice English. She also tutors in GATECH’s Communication Center.

Clarifying the definition of a buzzword like ‘sustainability’ is difficult; integrating the concept into disciplines as diverse as English language and industrial engineering is tougher. But at Georgia Tech, we’re always up for a challenge.

I followed the charge by showing up for the Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) Course Design workshop in June, 2016. I came looking to reinvigorate my English through Service-Learning course (through the Language Institute) and to connect with Tech’s SLS vision and resources—and the morning more than met my expectations.

Welcomed with great coffee and fresh fruit in the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s spacious, bright meeting room, I thought, ‘This is walking the… more

Dr. Colin Potts,  the vice provost for undergraduate education at Georgia Tech oversees offices and programs affecting undergraduate education including the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, the Center for Career Discovery and Development, the Honors Program, the Center for Academic Enrichment and the Center for Academic Success.

This summer, Georgia Tech served as a site for the annual Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) Conference, co-hosted by the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, the College of Engineering, and the College of Design.  The aim of the conference was to bring together a broad group of researchers, faculty, practitioners, partners, and professional association representatives to craft a Southeast Regional agenda for more in-depth coordinated research, teaching, and action on social sustainability.  The Conference supported the Center’s goal of integrating sustainability and community engagement into research and curricula across the… more

A conference hosted recently by Tech’s Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain had participants look at how to blaze new paths in sustainable education and community engagement — and even took them into the field to get their hands (or rather, shoes) dirty.

The Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain, in partnership with the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability, College of Design, and College of Engineering, with funding from the National Science Foundation, hosted the Paths to Social Sustainability conference earlier this summer. The goal of the conference was to identify ways to develop stronger and more coordinated social sustainability research, teaching, and action agendas for the Southeast.  

The three-day event was attended by Tech faculty, staff, and students; industry and community partners; government partners from Atlanta and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and representatives from other universities. The conference showcased Georgia Tech… more

Iris Tien is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Civil Systems Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

It has been more than a month since the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) Conference, organized in part by Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) at Georgia Tech, and the topics we discussed still stay with me. As a civil engineer, what has specifically stuck with me, and what I think will continue to color how I think about social sustainability, is the vital role of civil infrastructure in building communities.

Since INSS, I have traveled to several cities across the U.S., both large and small, for various conferences and research meetings. As I drove along the streets in my rental car, I found myself dissecting my surroundings. I examined the curb and gutter systems, and noted if there were sidewalks or not. As I took a drink… more

Ariella Ventura is a rising second year industrial engineering major, originally from Long Island, New York.

Hi! My name is Ariella Ventura and this summer I am studying abroad in Eastern Europe on Georgia Tech’s Leadership for Social Good program, specifically in Prague, Krakow, and Budapest. For this blog I would like to highlight the sustainability efforts that have caught my eye throughout my travels here in Eastern Europe.

To start off, let me walk you through my first eye opening experience.  Imagine this: You walk into a beautifully stocked grocery store and walk down the aisles grabbing all the delicious food your taste buds are dying for. After the 10-minute wait at the checkout line, you finally get to pay for your food and bring it home. But wait…… The check-out lady isn’t bagging your groceries. In fact, there are no bags at the end at all. You look around and see everyone else in the store has those “hippie” reusable bags that you bought once… more