This course is designed to provide students with experiential learning opportunities that help them connect the core competencies in their public health graduate program to local public health issues related to the health of humans, animals, and the environment.
Specifically, students partner with organizations in Fort Collins (e.g. The Growing Project, Bike Fort Collins, Friends of Lory State Park) that are engaged in programs and advocacy related to food, biking, and recreational trail access through direct, volunteer service and a semester-long, service project.
Students begin the course with an orientation to their partner organization. While volunteering with the organization over several weeks, students work with their peers to design and complete a service-learning project that simultaneously meets partner needs, provides real-world opportunities to practice essential public health skills, promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to work collaboratively, and supports learning about the connections between ecosystem and human health. In addition to the quality of project deliverables, students are also assessed based on multiple opportunities for personal and group reflection. Readings, lectures, and discussions on the environmental health topics addressed by our partner organizations are interspersed throughout the course. Working with local organizations promotes a sense of place, citizenship, and interest in life-long learning as students engage with critical public health issues in their own community, the living laboratory of Fort Collins.