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Contribution to Book
Sustainable Community-Based Learning: Engaging Undergraduates Across a Four-Year General Education Curriculum
Sustainable Solutions: Let Knowledge Serve the City
  • J. R. Estes, Portland State University
  • Jeffrey J. Gerwing, Portland State University
  • Celine Fitzmaurice, Portland State University
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date

This chapter describes how University Studies at Portland State University scaffolds student community engagement in sustainability-related courses across a four-year general education curriculum. We argue that the role of community engagement in a course should parallel both developing student understanding of complex sustainability issues and student capacity to apply that knowledge to multiple contexts. Learning about sustainability issues inspires an eagerness among students in first and second year courses “to do something” to make the world a better place. In these courses, assigned community-engagement projects nurture that eagerness while providing a supportive and structured platform where students develop their abilities to analyze sustainability-related issues, assess the implications of action for diverse stakeholders, and communicate across differences in values and cultures. Through these transformative projects students develop a deeper understanding of course content, build a better understanding of the complexities of meaningful and responsible community engagement, and gain transferable knowledge and skills.


Published by Greenleaf Publishing

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
Fitzmaurice, C., Estes, J.R., & Gerding, J. (2016). Sustainable community-based learning: engaging undergraduates across a four-year general education curriculum. In B.D. Wortham-Galvin, J. Allen, & J. Sherman (Eds.), Sustainable Solutions: Let Knowledge Serve the City. Leeds, UK: Greenleaf Publishing.