Sustainability educators agree that colleges and universities should support the ability of students to design and lead change in multiple spheres—organizations, communities, states, and internationally. How well are we supporting students in understanding change processes and developing the skills they need to become change makers? Over recent weeks, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialists Rebecca Watts Hull and Ruthie Yow worked with five young energy equity leaders with Metro Atlanta Youth Energy Corps (MAYE Corps) to explore these questions and plan a webinar offered through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). On June 9, more than 50 participants tuned in to explore this topic with SLS and our MAYE Corps partners Unwanna Etuk, Brittany Judson, Marisol Mendez, Zoie Moore, and Gwyn Rush.

We began by discussing what we mean when we say we “equip students to be change agents.” Does that mean supporting student… more

Last Juneteenth, SLS hosted a webinar intended to provide historical background on the meaning and significance of Juneteenth, as well as an overview of how Juneteenth is (or isn’t) recognized by individual states.(You can find the webinar recording, the slide show, and a reflection including student voices here.) In the year since, the politics of race and remembrance have continued to shift and change at the national level; Congress’s passage of a bill to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday is perhaps the most significant- but certainly not the only- indicator of those transformations.  Below you’ll find a brief primer on Juneteenth followed by four reflections from my friends and associates… more

By now it has become common knowledge that efforts to improve community green space often lead to gentrification and displacement of local residents. A recent article - “Green Gentrification and Health: A Scoping Review,” published in January 2021 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health - co-authored by Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, Co-founder of West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Faculty at Spelman College, and Member of RCE Greater Atlanta - examines 15 studies on the health effects of greening initiatives in gentrifying neighborhoods. The abstract summarizes the findings: “Overall, longtime, marginalized residents are negatively impacted by green gentrification as they experience a lower sense of community, feel that they do not belong in green space, and, in many studies, use green space less often than newcomers. Overall, the research in this area… more

This spring, SLS affiliated faculty and Brittain Fellow Kent Linthicum was awarded the prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship.  Connecting his award to his work, specifically with SLS, Dr. Linthicum stated, “Serve-Learn-Sustain has been critical to my work. Through SLS I’ve been able to talk with students, faculty, and staff who are working hard thinking about environmental justice, climate change, and the end of fossil fuels. For instance, as a teaching fellow in the Kendeda Building I worked with Jeremy Ackerman, Julie Hugonny and Michael Nitsche, to create a new SLS teaching tool, ‘Storytelling Equity,’ which uses narrative as a tool for different disciplines to help them include equity in the work they do. Overall, I feel very fortunate to be part of SLS and its important work.” 

While on fellowship, Linthicum plans to finish his book, Crowning Coal: Slavery, Fossil Fuels, and Literature 1755–1865. The book connects the energy and… more

Serve-Learn-Sustain’s Summer Internship Program provides sustainability partners throughout Georgia with support, while offering students practical experience working on real-world community-engaged projects. In four years, the program has grown from 15 students in 2018 to this summer’s cohort of 76! A Saporta Report article that shares more about the program through a close look at three 2020 internships is accessible here. 

This year’s expanded partnerships include cohorts of interns working on the Smart Sea Level Sensors and Urban Heat Island Projects, under the auspices of the Global Change Program, as well as interns working with a diversity of partners through the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT), including with Georgia Tech's Smart… more

With our small staff, SLS could not do what we do without the work that is accomplished by our undergraduate student fellows.  Each year, SLS employs 10 - 12 undergraduate students who work with us in various capacities.  In addition to daily office work, these students also choose a long-term project to work on over the course of a semester or two, as part of our student fellows program.  They work as part of a student cohort, meeting regularly with each other, and with staff to develop and move SLS initiatives and programs forward.  This week, we celebrate four of our fellows as they graduate and move on from SLS.  We will miss them terribly, but are so proud of their accomplishments and excited for their future endeavors!

Adair Garrett, B.S. Civil Engineering

SLS has truly shaped my college career.  As… more

Interested in incorporating the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals into your teaching?  Building on the SDG course design workshop offered this past semester, the Center for Teaching and Learning and Serve-Learn-Sustain are pleased to offer a second Course Design Studio in June.  Design or redesign a course with expert guidance from Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Serve-Learn-Sustain consultants and input from colleagues across campus. In this virtual experience, participants will access asynchronous modules via Canvas that provide frameworks, models, and structured exercises designed to help them build course elements, including learning goals, assessments, and learning activities. Participants can choose to focus on the fundamentals of backwards course design, integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and/or making… more

Georgia Tech's new Strategic Plan calls for us to prepare students to "develop innovative and socially responsible solutions" to today's most pressing global challenges. Inter/transdisciplinary teaching and research, along with a focus on experiential, problem-based service learning are outlined as important action steps towards attaining this goal.  Jennifer Hirsch (SLS Director) and Ruthie Yow (SLS Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist) recently wrote this article about how SLS has been developing and implementing transdisciplinary models for teaching and learning since its launch in January 2016.



For the past 12 years, the Ideas to Serve (I2S) Competition organized by the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact (ILSI) at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business inspires students and recent alumni to think creatively about how to create a better world. Participants explore the root causes of systemic conditions around, and gaps in existing solutions for a social, economic, or environmental issue, often with guidance from a community partner. Some present their problem discovery and others present a solution that addresses those solution gaps to a team of expert judges – many of them practitioners from the social sector. First, second, and third place winners receive a financial prize which they can choose to use to further investigate ways to fill impact gaps. Although the teams worked virtually for the… more

This spring, SLS had the opportunity to host an in-person tour at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, led by staff member Jamie White-Jones.  As part of the experience, we asked students to share with us what was most impactful to them personally.  We are pleased to share those reflections with you!

Iesha Baldwin (Spelman College '19, Environmental Studies)

My favorite part of the tour was when Jamie, our tour guide, told us the story of her great uncle, Mr.Williams. Mr.Williams was one of Martin Luther King's close friends and personal bodyguard. This was the most memorable part of the tour for me because it allowed me to feel more connected to the events of the past. Jamie's shared stories grew my appreciation for history and showed me that history is alive today. 

Amy Wood (PhD, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

The most impactful exhibit for me was the lunch counter audio-sensory simulation.… more