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Learning Gardens, Sustainability, and Food Sovereignty at Oregon Food Bank - This course will explore sustainability and food sovereignty through community engagement at the Oregon Food Bank and Wombyn’s Wellness Garden

This course will explore sustainability and personal connection to the environment through community engagement at the Learning Gardens Lab (LGL). Students will examine community-based learning through the lens of sustainability leadership, and engage with alternative and critical perspectives on sustainability. Class time will focus on hands-on activities in the learning gardens, group discussion and community engagement projects. Students must attend the first class session on campus.

This capstone is similar to the Gender and Violence capstone but includes more emphasis on international issues.

Brief description   

Mougas is a small coastal community in the Northwest region of Galicia, Spain on the Costa De Castros.  Historically, Galicia has been one of the poorest, most remote regions in Spain.  These communities have lived through economic instability and isolation. However, changes, including the growing popularity of the pilgrim routes throughout Spain and improved transportation options to this region, are starting to change the face of tourism in Galicia.

This capstone is designed to use a singular example in order to frame the broader issue of conservation and climate change.  In particular, the experience is designed to take place in the Danau Girang Field Centre, a research facility run cooperatively by the Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University of Wales (  The Centre is quite remote and in a patch of isolated rainforest, located in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah (North Borneo), Malaysia.

Oregon’s wildlife refuges strive to protect its fish and wildlife for present and future generations.  The Wildlife Area helps the public learn that its flora and fauna teaches us many things, such as biomimicry, the study of nature’s sustainable design strategies that will help our world.  (Example: Sunflower leaves turns to face the sun: Can we design solar cells that do the same?)

This multidisciplinary Capstone is carried over two terms (Spring and Summer). The Spring term portion involves pre-travel projects in preparation for the service-learning trip and classroom learning experience. The Summer term portion is a two-week service-learning experience in Nicaragua (tentative travel dates: June 15/16 - June 29, 2015). Students and faculty will focus on service-learning activities in the areas of public health and community development related to aging and older adults in Nicaragua.

This course is designed to give students an opportunity to learn about stormwater and the challenges of cleaning up the Willamette River. Portland is a leader in innovative ways to manage stormwater and this management helps to keep our surface waters here in Portland cleaner than they have been for over 100 years. Our community partner for this class is the Bureau of Environmental Services .

Head Start is this nation's largest investment in young children to date. It is also one of the few remaining efforts from the 1960's "War on Poverty". Each student will study a local Head Start Program in their own community, and depending on geography may work with a Team in this effort.

Students will do all or some of the following:

• review data and documentation of the historical successes and challenges of Head Start; 

• analyze and reflect on the impact it has had in communities;

• learn about participatory-action based research