Field trips play a significant role in the Sustainability Leadership Semester. In a single fall semester, we will visit 60 different sites and meet 130 new people!
At least one day each week is devoted to visiting our neighbors in order to supplement and contextualize the material being learned in class. Field trips are immensely helpful for providing physical examples of concepts that might seem abstract in a classroom setting. Furthermore, meeting so many individuals allows our students to rapidly expand their network of sustainability contacts. This provides students with benefits that extend far beyond the timeframe of a given class or even the whole SLS. For example, when doing research, it is helpful to be able to tap into a pool of contacts with diverse knowledge, or when searching for an intership or job, the more places one can inquire, the greater the odds of finding an opening.
Here is an abridged list of all the field trip sites we have visited:
- HOPE CSA (Hands On Pastoral Education using Clergy Sustaining Agriculture) in North Manchester, IN: a farm that allows clergy to see the connection between tending a diverse farm and tending a diverse congregation
- Maple City Health Care Center in Goshen, IN: an organization that seeks to build community by providing health care to underserved neighborhoods
- Pioneer-DuPont Seed Corn Plant in Constantine, MI: the largest seed corn processing plant in the country, which provides a remarkable visualization of the scale of modern industrial agriculture
- CSO Treatment Facility in Goshen, IN: a facility the size of two football fields designed to prevent any untreated stormwater and wastewater from flowing directly into the Elkhart River
- Roosevelt Center in Elkhart, IN: a former school building that has been rehabilited, retrofitted with numerous energy-efficient features, and converted into affordable apartments
- Citizens Square in Fort Wayne, IN: a meeting with Tom Henry, mayor of the city of Fort Wayne
- Gunthorp Farm in LaGrange, IN: a sustainable meat farm that uses constructed wetlands to treat the effluent from their processing facility
- Goshen Redevelopment Commission in Goshen, IN: an organization working to convert brownfield sites into safe, community-serving facilities along the town’s millrace
- Bear Lake Water Control Structure in Wolf Lake, IN: a site where the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is balancing public interest and hydrological factors to maintain the state-regulated water level
- Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, IN: a music store/restaurant/recording studio/arcade/concert hall/office building/warehouse that just so happens to be the only other LEED Platinum certified site in Indiana! (along with Merry Lea’s Rieth Village)