Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CBL and Sustainability

You can incorporate sustainability into your course no matter what you teach. Community-Based Learning is a great tool to help you do this. It can take many forms depending on your learning objectives. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Architecture: Students serve at the ReBuilding Center and integrate the knowledge of reclaimed resources they learn at the Center into their class design plans.
  • Art: Art students can help the environment and learn more about public art by picking up trash around statues or outdoor artwork in parks or other public spaces.
  • Biology: Biology students could learn about invasive species in the library, or they could do service with the No Ivy League and learn first-hand about invasive ivy and the impact on the environment.
  • Business: Students create a cost/benefit analysis of small businesses switching to “green” practices and partner with the Small Business Development Center to present to small business owners.
  • Computers: Students partner with Free Geek and carry-out an E-Waste drive with information for people about making “greener” computer/technology choices.
  • Chemistry: Do hands on environmentally related science experiments with local high schools.
  • Engineering: Work with local elementary schools in a green engineering challenge for students to create a recycling device.
  • English: Based on gardens in literature, work with a local library to plant a literature garden.
  • Family Studies: Students develop art projects with reclaimed materials, then serve at local child care centers to teach an art project to the kids.
  • Food and nutrition: Students serve at the Growing Gardens and analyze the nutritional benefits of garden programs versus food box programs.
  • Gerontology: Students serve at a local retirement center and interview residents about “green” practices from their youth. Compile into a handout for their families.
  • Health: Health students learning about environmental impacts on health could create a bulletin board display to share the information in an interesting manner, then donate those displays to local libraries or schools.
  • Landscape Technology: Work with the Community Energy Project to help their clients identify landscaping solutions to their energy reduction.
  • Math: Students serve with SOLV and create graphs and charts to analyze what was collected.
  • Music: Hold a “music drive” to collect old CDs or tapes and players to donate to Portland Rescue Mission.
  • PE and fitness: Partner with Friends of Trees to host an environmentally friendly hiking series.
  • Political Science: Follow a piece of environmental legislation through the process, invite local politicians to campus to speak and inform other students of how to take action.
  • Sociology: Social Problems students could serve with Schoolhouse Supplies to connect what they are learning about social problems in the text with the mission of that organization and connection to sustainability.
  • Speech Communication: Group Communication students are learning about group dynamics. While serving with Metro Regional Parks and Greenspaces may not seem to connect, these students are serving in groups. While giving to the community, they also have a real-life group situation to analyze in their class discussions, papers, and exams
  • World Languages: Students could work with the Red Cross to help translate basic environmental hazard information into the target language.
  • Writing: Writing students could volunteer with Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, consider their own life, make one change, and reflect on the entire process on a reflective essay.