This summer, the Sustainability Studies Program at Roosevelt University will offer a SUST 390 Special Topics course, “Sustainable Chicago,” that features a variety of exciting field trips and hands-on learning experiences. Taught by Adjunct Professor Vicki Gerberich in an innovative and experiential format, the class meets on six Saturdays (May 17-June 21), alternating between the Chicago and Schaumburg Campuses, for field trip-based excursions; and utilizes Blackboard for online interaction and classroom support. The Saturday field trips are varied and will provide hands-on exposure to sustainability efforts taking place throughout the Chicagoland region, as detailed below in Prof. Gerberich’s preview of the course:
What is sustainability? Is it taking place in our own backyards or up the street? Where can we see sustainability projects unfolding and why should we care? What factors are threatening sustainable development and what are scientists, citizens, and school systems doing about it? Come take a walk on the wild side as we explore the many facets of sustainability through urban landscapes, suburban sprawl and natural habitats of prairies, waterways and more. Warning: you will get dirty!
We’ll go behind the scenes at our very own Roosevelt University and tour the urban landscape by foot, rail, and likely wheels, visiting some of the many city parks; study native habitats and help restore prairie grasslands at the Poplar Creek Prairie; paddle parts of the Chicago River with Friends of the Chicago River and learn about the extensive role Chicago’s geography played in regards to waste and water management; visit a “sustainable-by-design” smart growth project and talk with the resident farmers; and of course, get a feel for urban agriculture as we help sift worm castings, move woodchips, and build compost bins at Chicago’s Growing Power Iron Street Farm, followed by a visit to The Plant.
Join us as we get our hands dirty learning about the relevance of sustainable development and conservation concepts within an urban environment!
Fast Facts about SUST 390 Sustainable Chicago
- SUST 390, sections 17 (Chicago) and 30 (Schaumburg) — these sections are cross-listed, meaning you can register in either one
- Meets Saturday 10am-4pm on five dates: May 17, 24, and 31; and June 7 and 14. Final assignments due on June 21
- Minimal, but SOME online interaction required (through Blackboard)
- Hands-on, field-based learning opportunities about sustainability and community development
- Pre-requisite: ENG 102
- Taught by: Professor Vicki Gerberich (email: firstname.lastname@example.org | phone 708-528-1069)
Tentative Weekly Schedule
Week 1 (May 17) Chicago — Overview of Urban Sustainability: buildings, land use, transportation, and parklands; tours of RU’s Chicago Campus, Millennium Park, and other city green spaces/facilities (Chicago Center for Green Technology and/or Stearns Quarry Park)
Week 2 (May 24) Schaumburg — Biodiversity & Resource Management: SCH Campus redevelopment tour, restoration work at local conservation area
Week 3 (May 31) Chicago — Urban Water & Waste: canoe trip on the Chicago River (fee required)
Week 4 (June 7) Schaumburg — Sprawl & Smart Growth in the Suburbs: driving tour of the Village Schaumburg and/or Prairie Crossing development
Week 5 (June 14) Chicago — Sustainable Food & Urban Agriculture — visits to urban farms, community gardens, and/or food distributors in Chicago
Week 6 (June 21) TBD — Final Assignment(s) Due
If you are interested in enrolling in SUST 390 this coming summer, please contact your academic advisor. Transportation logistics for Weeks 2-6 will be discussed during Week 1’s initial class session. And if you’ve never tried an online course before, taking this course is a great way to “test the waters.” While the online portion is minimal, there will be readings and videos for students to access and review along with follow-up discussion and/or questions after each field trip. Since students will have plentiful interaction with the instructor and each other face-to-face, they will have ample opportunity to get the help/support with the online component, if necessary.