EPP: Environmental Policy and Planning2018-08-02T14:11:13+00:00

      SPIA

           ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PLANNING
Environmental Policy and Planning Major (EPP)
Promoting sustainable human interaction with the natural environment continues to be one of the critical challenges facing societies around the world. While science and technology are critical to meeting this challenge, they must be supported by policies and plans responsive to diverse political, economic, sociocultural, institutional, and regulatory contexts.

The Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) major provides students with an interdisciplinary framework to view environmental problems. Students will obtain the knowledge and skills needed to function as policymakers and planners who can understand complex environmental issues and develop enduring solutions.

The EPP major builds on the Public and Urban Affairs (PUA) degree core that provides students with foundational knowledge in policy, planning, governance, and international affairs. The EPP major extends this knowledge through an interconnected sequence of courses that explore environmental policy and planning, land use, and environmental law. EPP students will also develop their expertise by selecting one more elective from three subject areas: Policy; Planning; and Environment and Conservation.

EPP students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills through studios that will challenge interdisciplinary teams to address critical environment and social problems.

Upon graduation, EPP majors will be able to demonstrate competency in their ability to:

  • Synthesize and present multiple perspectives in written and oral forms
  • Identify ethical issues related to an environmental issue and articulate a reasoned position that is informed by the complexities of the situation
  • Apply a transdisciplinarity framework to address a complex environmental policy issue
  • Articulate how values are contested during agenda setting and framing within the environmental policies process
  • Analyze how environmental policies are implemented at national and sub-national levels
  • Evaluate how environmental policies are governed across sectoral and jurisdictional boundaries

EPP majors will pursue careers in local, state, and federal government, domestic and international nonprofits, environmental planning consulting firms, real estate development, and private industry.

EPP Major Checksheet

EPP Minor Checksheet

EPP Student Handbook (Please refer to the handbook for an example plan of study)

Curriculum and Course Format
Credits Required for Environmental Policy and Planning Major: 120 Total Credit Hours
I. Core Degree Requirements 29 Credit Hours
II. Requirements for EPP Major 28 Credit Hours
III. Curriculum for Liberal Education 36 Credit Hours
IV. Free Electives 27 Credit Hours
KEY
PUA Degree Core EPP Major Core
CLE/Pathways EPP Major Elective
Fall Semester Freshman 2018 Credits Spring Semester Freshman 2019 Credits
ENGL 1105 (Discourse Path) 3 ENGL 1106 (Discourse Path) 3
UAP 1024 3 ENSC 1016 (Natural Sciences Path) 3
ENSC 1015 (Natural Sciences Path) 3 MATH 1014 (Q&C Thinking) 3
PSCI 1014 3 Pathways Humanities (student choice) 3
PHIL 1304 or 2304 (Humanities Path) 3 Free Elective 3
UAP 1004 1
TOTAL 16 TOTAL 15
Fall Semester Sophomore 2019 Credits Spring Semester Sophomore 2020 Credits
ECON 2005 or AAEC 1005 (Social Science Path) 3 ECON 2006 or AAEC 1006 (Social Science Path) 3
SPIA 2554 3 STAT 3604 (Q&C Thinking Path advanced) 3
UAP 3354 3 UAP 3744 3
UAP 3714 3 Pathways Discourse Adv (student choice) 3
Pathways Q&C Thinking (student choice) 3 Pathways Design and the Arts 3
SPIA 2114 1
TOTAL 16 TOTAL 15
Fall Semester Junior 2020 Credits Spring Semester Junior 2021 Credits
UAP 4754 3 SPIA 3354 3
UAP 3014 3 UAP 4344 3
UAP 4374 3 UAP 3224 3
EPP Major Elective 3 Pathways Equity/Identity (student choice) 3
Pathways Design and the Arts 3 Free Elective 3
TOTAL 15 TOTAL 15
Fall Semester Senior 2021 Credits Spring Semester Senior 2022 Credits
UAP 4354 3 UAP 4914 3
EPP Major Elective 3 EPP Major Elective 3
Free Electives 9 Free Electives 6
TOTAL 16 TOTAL 12
Hours Requirement: A total of 120 hours is required to graduate with a PUA degree of which there are fifty-seven (57) required hours for the Environmental Policy and Planning major.
In-major GPA: All of the courses in sections I and II are included in the in-major GPA calculation. A GPA of 2.0 or above both overall and in-major GPA is required for graduation.
Satisfactory Progress: To proceed satisfactorily toward a degree, a student must complete UAP 1024, PSCI 1014, SPIA 2114, STAT 3604, and UAP 3354 by the end of the semester in which 60 hours have been attempted; and maintain an in-major GPA of 2.0.
Dual Use of Courses: No course can double count within or between SPIA-related majors or minors with the exception of the Core Degree Requirements (Section I below).
Intra-SPIA Program majoring and minoring: Students may pursue more than one major or minor associated with the School of Public and International Affairs Program. In this case, the policy pertaining to the “Dual Use of Courses” will apply.
Prerequisites: Some courses listed on this checksheet have prerequisites. Be sure to consult the University Catalog and/or check with your advisor.
UAP 1004: Intro to Careers in Urban Affairs and Planning (1)
UAP 1004: Intro to Careers in Urban Affairs and Planning (1)
Introduces academic requirements for the Public and Urban Affairs (PUA) and Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) majors. Assists students with academic planning and career exploration. Students develop an ePortfolio to document their personal and professional growth in the major.
UAP 1024: Public Issues in an Urban Society (3)
UAP 1024: Public Issues in an Urban Society (3)
This class introduces some of the most vital concerns and issues challenging democratic capitalistic urban societies today. Topics addressed include different perspectives on the causes and portent of the urban underclass, the growing inequality between the educated and less well educated in the nation’s labor markets, the causes of the marked resegregation of many of the nation’s urban centers by race and income and the implications of privatization and interjurisdictional competition for the public policy behavior and outcomes of subnational governments.
PSCI 1014: Introduction to US Government and Politics (3)
PSCI 1014: Introduction to US Government and Politics (3)
Introduction to government and politics of the United States the Constitution and various institutional designs and structures. Focus on political culture, interest groups, political parties, and elections. Roles and responsibilities of Congress, bureaucracy, Presidency, and federal courts; Discussion of selected current policy issues.
SPIA 2114: Public Service Leadership (3)
SPIA 2114: Public Service Leadership (3)
Definition and practice of leadership in the public and nonprofit sectors, and its relationship to democratic governance. Decision-making under varying degrees of certainty and ambiguity. Exploring the relationship between public values and the public interest. Evidence for decisions. Case study engagement and presentation.
SPIA 2554: Collaborative Policy-Making & Planning (3)
SPIA 2554: Collaborative Policy-Making & Planning (3)
Introduction to multi-stakeholder collaboration and public participation in planning, policy-making and public administration. Tools and approaches for engagement and effective collaboration. Deliberative and participatory democracy, and transparency in society. Information sharing and access. Civil society, the media and citizen activism. Ethical and moral issues in collaboration. Barriers to participation, and diversity and inclusion.
STAT 3604: Statistics for the Social Sciences (3)
STAT 3604: Statistics for the Social Sciences (3)
Statistical methods for nominal, ordinal, and interval levels of measurement. Topics include descriptive statistics, elements of probability, discrete and continuous distributions, one and two sample tests, measures of association. Emphasis on comparison of methods and interpretations at different measurement levels. (Pre. MATH 1014 or MATH 1015)
SPIA 3554: Transdisciplinary Problem Solving for Social Issues (3)
SPIA 3554: Transdisciplinary Problem Solving for Social Issues (3)
Strategies and skills for transdisciplinary problem solving. Emphasis on integrative thinking strategies and cognitive and interpersonal skills required to bridge scientific discipline-based, non-scientific discipline-based, and cultural knowledge. Strategies to identify important disciplinary, non-scientific, ethical, cultural, and structural elements of a problem. Problem-based learning, ethics, team work, and effective communication skills.
UAP 3714: The U.S. Policy Process (3)
UAP 3714: The U.S. Policy Process (3)
Description and analysis of the processes and institutions involved in the making and implementation of public policy in the United States, with a primary focus on domestic and economic policy. Empirical and normative models of the process of public policy making in the U.S. (Cross-listed with PSCI 3714, pre. PSCI 1014).
UAP 3744: Public Policy Analysis (3)
UAP 3744: Public Policy Analysis (3)
Methods and approaches used in the analysis and evaluation of public policy; strengths and limitations of various analytic tools; normative issues in the practice of policy analysis. (Cross-listed with PSCI 3744, pre. PSCI 1014).
UAP 4754: Legal Foundations of Planning (3)
UAP 4754: Legal Foundations of Planning (3)
Examination of the legal context in which urban planning and public policy operate. Legal structure, role of law, powers of sovereign governments, constitutional limitations on government activities, and public-private conflict and their influence on planning and public policy are examined.
UAP 4914: Seminar in Public and Urban Affairs (3)
UAP 4914: Seminar in Public and Urban Affairs (3)
This capstone seminar explores the central questions of the role of the citizen and the citizenry in democratic capitalistic urban societies as well as the nature of accountability in such regimes. Topics such as the processes by which representation occurs, alternate theories of democratic community and the relationship of the public, private and civil sectors in urban society are treated. (Pre. SPIA 2554, SPIA 3554, and UAP 4754).
UAP 3354: Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning (3)
UAP 3354: Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning (3)
Introduction to the interdisciplinary principles of environmental policy, planning, economics, and ethics to address pollution abatement, resources conservation, habitat protection, and environmental restoration. The course will focus on practical means of identifying environmental problems and creatively solving them.
UAP 3014: Urban Policy and Planning (3)
UAP 3014: Urban Policy and Planning (3)
An introduction to urban policy and urban planning. Includes analysis of the basic concepts and principles of urban policy, a review of urban policy in the United States, discussion of the development of urban planning and its role in shaping the urban environment, and an analysis of the relationship between public policy and planning and the organization and structure of the urban environment. (Pre. UAP 1024).
UAP 3224: Policy Implementation (3)
UAP 3224: Policy Implementation (3)
Systematic analysis of the field and practice of public policy implementation. Includes analysis of the structure and dynamics of the policy process as well as specific analytic approaches to understanding policy implementation. Includes analysis of intra-organizational, interorganizational and intergovernmental implementation processes. (Pre. UAP 3014 and STAT 3604).
UAP 4344: Law of Critical Environmental Areas (3)
UAP 4344: Law of Critical Environmental Areas (3)
This course examines the legal principles and policy debates involved in the regulation and protection of critical environmental resources. Specific topics vary but will likely include wetlands law and policy, endangered species habitat, open space, forestland and farmland protection, coastal zone management, and floodplain regulation and policy.
UAP 4374: Land Use and Environment: Policy and Planning (3)
UAP 4374: Land Use and Environment: Policy and Planning (3)
Environmental factors involved in land use planning and development, including topography, soils, geologic hazards, flooding and stormwater management, ecological features, and visual quality. Techniques used in conducting environmental land inventories and land suitability analyses. Policies and programs to protect environmental quality in land use planning and development. (Pre. Junior Standing).
UAP 4354: Interdisciplinary Environmental Problem Solving Studio (4)
UAP 4354: Interdisciplinary Environmental Problem Solving Studio (4)
Interdisciplinary, experiential problem solving studio focusing on specific environmental problems. Working in groups, students interact with local officials, consultants, developers, environmental groups to explore the processes of environmental management, regulation and mitigation, applying techniques and skills frequently used by environmental planners and policy-makers. (Pre. UAP 3354, UAP 3224, and Senior Standing).
Policy (3 credit hours must be taken from the following)
UAP 3954: Study Abroad -Variable credit course
UAP 3954: Study Abroad -Variable credit course.
UAP 4624: Washington Sem: Seminar in American Politics and Public Policy
UAP 4624: Washington Sem: Seminar in American Politics and Public Policy
This seminar is the integrative forum for the principal elements of the Washington Semester experience. The course explores both the role of political institutions in policy formation and implementation and the primary managerial and leadership challenges that arise for implementing organization managers in American democratic public policy-making. Pre: Junior standing or instructor consent and acceptance into the Washington Semester program. (Cross-listed with PSCI 4624, pre. Junior Standing).
UAP 4644: Washington Sem: Politics, Policy, and Administration in a Democracy
UAP 4644: Washington Sem: Politics, Policy, and Administration in a Democracy
This course is part of the Washington Semester. Explores the relationship between the imperatives of democratic mobilization, policy choices and organizational choices through intensive study of the operating context of a selected public or nonprofit organization. Examines implications of policy-maker choices for implementing institution dynamics and challenges. Pre: Junior standing and acceptance into the Washington Semester program required. (Cross-listed with PSCI 4644, pre. UAP 3714).
SPIA 4964: Field Study - Variable credit course
SPIA 4964: Field Study – Variable credit course.
AAEC 3314: Environmental Law
AAEC 3314: Environmental Law
Principles of law involved in environmental issues, survey of environmental litigation, legislation and administrative rulings. Law topics include natural resources, water pollution, private land use, air pollution, toxic substance, food, drug, pesticides, and biotechnology.
LAR 4034: Evolution of the American Landscape
LAR 4034: Evolution of the American Landscape
Examine and interpret physical changes in the rural and urban landscapes of the United States as they reflect cultural values; technologic innovations; immigration patterns; the roles of diverse professions over time; changing views of use, conversation and preservation of national resources; and expectations for places of live, work and play using an iterative writing process and reflective course discussions.
PSCI 3424: State and Local Government
PSCI 3424: State and Local Government
Institutions, functions, and policies of state, county, and municipal governments in the U.S.; issues confronting these governments in the federal system. (Pre. PSCI 1014).
PSCI 3434: Urban Politics
PSCI 3434: Urban Politics
Basic concepts of urban politics; governmental structures, policy processes, and political conflicts in U.S. cities, policy options for coping with urban problems. (Pre. PSCI 1014).
AAEC 3324: Environmental and Sustainable Development Economics
AAEC 3324: Environmental and Sustainable Development Economics
Economics of environment and sustainable development. Topics include economic efficiency, property rights, externalities, benefit-cost analysis, economic evaluation procedures, public and private conflicts in land use, water quality, and international growth/development/environmental issues. (Pre. AAEC 1005 or ECON 2005).
ECON 4014: Environmental Economics
ECON 4014: Environmental Economics
Economic dimensions and aspects of programs designed to impose quality controls upon the environment. Special emphasis on problems of controlling air and water pollution. (Pre. ECON 2005 or 2116 or 2126 or 2025H).
LAR 2254: Social and Cultural Landscapes
LAR 2254: Social and Cultural Landscapes
Introduction to experiential and cultural content of designed landscapes. Physiological, functional, and psychological factors that affect experience of the landscape. Study of cultural values, attitudes, and philosophies that have shaped historic and contemporary landscapes.
Planning (3 credit hours must be taken from the following)
GEOG 2084: Principles of Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 2084: Principles of Geographic Information Systems
Principles and diverse applications of Geographic Information Systems, geographic coordinate systems, Cartesian map projections, spatial data sources, GIS databases, map representations, and illustrated spatial applications of GIS. Requires regular use of computer systems for geographic data analysis.
GEOG 4084: Modeling with Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 4084: Modeling with Geographic Information Systems (pre. GEOG 2084)
Use of automated systems for geographic data collection, digitization, storage, display, modeling and analysis. Basic data flow in GIS modeling applications. Development of proficiency in the use of current GIS software.
UAP 3024: Urban and Regional Analysis
UAP 3024: Urban and Regional Analysis
Overview and application of various methods used to study, represent, understand communities in their urban and regional context. Data collection and analysis; population, land use, transportation and economic forecasting; selecting and applying an appropriate method; designing and presenting a community study. Restricted to majors and minors only.
UAP 4764: International Development Policy and Planning
UAP 4764: International Development Policy and Planning (cross-listed with GEOG 4764 & SOC 4764, pre. Junior Standing)
Examination of major development theories and contemporary issues and characteristics of low-income societies (industrialization, urbanization, migration, rural poverty, hunger, foreign trade, and debt) that establish contexts for development planning and policy-making.
UAP 4854: Planning the Urban Infrastructure
UAP 4854: Planning the Urban Infrastructure (pre. UAP 4754)
Course examines the interdependences among the elements of the built environment of the city and those between the elements of the built environment and the policy/planning structure of the city. Considered are those elements associated with the primary urban activities (residential, commercial, industrial) as well as the urban form-giving infrastructure facilities that support those land uses (water supply, sewerage, solid waste disposal, transportation, education, recreation, health, and safety).
UAP 4394: Community Renewable Energy Systems
UAP 4394: Community Renewable Energy Systems (pre. MATH 1025 or MATH 1016)
Practical design fundamentals for small scale renewable energy systems: solar building heating and cooling; solar domestic hot water; wind, photovoltaic, and hydroelectric systems; alcohol, methane and other biomass conversion systems. Developing plans, programs, and policies to stimulate development of renewable systems.
SPIA 2244: Urbanization and Development
SPIA 2244: Urbanization and Development
Process of urbanization and theories and approaches of urban development. Debates on the meanings of sustainable urbanization and development in cities and how they are measured. Urban sustainability initiatives in the context of urban political economies, land-use practices, urban inequality and diversity, urban nature, and urban policy and politics. Programs and policies designed to enhance sustainable urbanization. Comparative approach and global perspective.
SPIA 2314: Transportation and the Global Environment
SPIA 2314: Transportation and the Global Environment
Connections among active transportation, physical activity, health, the environment, and the economy on local to global scales. Methods to assess walkability in a community and the influence of the built environment on rates of active transportation. Approaches to evaluate demographic and psychosocial predictors and physical and policy barriers to use of active transportation. Successful strategies to increase active transportation through community design guidelines, behavior change tools, transportation planning, and policy.
UAP 4964: Field Study - Variable credit course
UAP 4964: Field Study – Variable credit course.
LAR 3044: Land Analysis and Site Planning
LAR 3044: Land Analysis and Site Planning (pre. LAR 1004)
Introduction to the concepts and methods of ecological resource survey and analysis at regional and site scales. Approaches to environmental problem solving with an emphasis on data collection, evaluation, and synthesis using applicable technologies such as geographic information systems. Interpretation of landscape resource data for the purpose of physical planning and design.
Environment & Conservation (3 credit hours must be taken from the following)
LAR 1254: Environment and Natural Systems
LAR 1254: Environment and Natural Systems
Introduction to the environment and natural systems with emphasis on their relationship to planning and design. Topics include natural elements, structures, patterns, natural systems, ecology, landscape ecology, and sustainability. Application of relevant theories and methods related to the environment and natural systems in planning and design.
FREC 1044: Introduction to Environmental Informatics
FREC 1044: Introduction to Environmental Informatics
Application of information science to environmental management. Role of information science, mathematical and statistical modeling, geospatial technology, database management, knowledge integration, and decision science in environmental decision-making. Skills and techniques required to assist scientists and managers with the challenges of collecting, collating, archiving, modeling, analyzing, visualizing, and communicating information in support of natural resource management.
FREC 2124: Forests, Society & Climate
FREC 2124: Forests, Society & Climate
Role of forest ecosystems on the global carbon cycle, climate, biodiversity and economies. Anthropogenic impacts on forest ecosystems and their ecological function in the face of changing climate. Climate-related threats to global forests, including loss of biodiversity, deforestation, forest fires, and invasive species. Sustainable forest management for anticipated future scenarios.
FREC 2134: Plants and Greenspaces in Urban Communities
FREC 2134: Plants and Greenspaces in Urban Communities (cross-listed with HORT 2134)
Modern concepts of sustainability changing plant use in urban settings. Fundamentals of urban plant systems in the context of urban ecosystem management. Philosophy and critical analysis of sustainability related to green infrastructure, including urban forests, green roofs, urban soils, urban wildlife, urban agriculture, and innovations merging plant and ecosystem functions with building and site engineering. Multi-disciplinary emphasis at site, regional, and global, scales.
STS 3334: Energy and Society
STS 3334: Energy and Society
Examines the interconnections between energy use and social life. Considers the ways that modern social institutions, such as states, cities, and households are shaped by energy systems, particularly the pervasive use of fossil fuels. Explores the influence of energy extraction and commerce on economic development and global politics. Surveys major contemporary problems related to energy, including climate change and natural resource depletion. Develops an interdisciplinary framework, drawing insights from history, sociology, and economics, for evaluating policies to transition to a sustainable energy system.
GEOG 2004: Water, Environment and Society
GEOG 2004: Water, Environment and Society (cross-listed with NR 2004)
Introduction to the hydrologic cycle, water resources, and related environmental issues. Emphasis on ethics and relationships between human needs for and effects upon water including: water quality, water treatment, and wastewater treatment; water for health, energy, and food; water management, laws, economics, and conflict; hydrometeorological hazards and climate change; and potential solutions for these and other critical water issues.
GEOG 3104: Environmental Problems, Population, and Development
GEOG 3104: Environmental Problems, Population, and Development
Environmental problems in their social, spatial, and global contexts. Impacts of globalization, neoliberalism, and population growth on the environment. Examination of effects of developed and developing countries on the environment. Focus on conceptualizing development, population dynamics, environmental justice, factory farming, energy and renewable energy, global health, disasters, and intercultural and global awareness.
SPIA 4454: Cities as Complex Systems
SPIA 4454: Cities as Complex Systems
Interdependence of social, economic, environmental, and technological components and how these change over time. Theories about city formation, structure, and change, with implications for sustainability, resilience, and globalization.
Area 1: Writing and Discourse (6 credits): ENGL 1105; ENGL 1106

Area 2: Ideas, Cultural Traditions, and Values (6 credits): 3 credit hours must be from either: UAP 4264 OR PHIL 1304 OR PHIL 2304

Area 3: Society and Human Behavior (6 credits): ECON 2005 and ECON 2006 OR AAEC 1005 andAAEC 1006

Area 4: Scientific Reasoning and Discovery (6 credits): ENSC 1015; ENSC 1016

Area 5: Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (6 credits): MATH 1014 and one additional 3 credit Area 5 course
*STAT 3604 cannot be used to meet this requirement

Area 6: Creative and Aesthetic Experience (1-3 credits)

Area 7: Critical Issues in a Global Context (3 credits): UAP 3344

The full list of approved courses for each area above can be found in the “Curriculum for Liberal Education Guide” on the Provost’s Office web page.

Free electives make up the remainder of the credits for the Environmental Policy and Planning major. Take as many as needed to reach 120 credits.

(No Credits Count Toward the Degree)

Complete one of the following options:
□ 2 years of a single foreign, classical, or sign language in high school.
OR
□ Complete FL 1105-1106 or the equivalent in college (these 6 hours do not count toward the 120 required for graduation)
SPIA Experiential Learning: D.C. Semester
SPIA offers students a unique set of experiential learning opportunities that integrate with the SSC major.

Students will have an opportunity to study in the National Capital Region through the new Washington, D.C. Semester in Global Engagement or the well-established Washington, D.C. Semester in Leadership through Policy and Governance.

Washington, D.C. is at the center of global affairs. It is home to government agencies, many of the world’s leading think-tanks, numerous international organizations and a range of non-governmental organizations. Here, the most significant policy decisions are debated and made, holding both domestic and international importance.

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a unique 15 credit program open to all Virginia Tech majors. The Washington Semester consists of a combination of courses on global affairs, internships opportunities, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities with DC professionals and policy makers. It offers students the opportunity to experience policy-making firsthand, and explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in Washington D.C area.

The Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance extended summer session program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students will learn about and work on challenging public policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit. Washington Semester Fellows will also attend seminars that enable them to understand their internship from a range of analytical perspectives.

Eligibility

The Washington Semester is a competitive program open to all undergraduate students, regardless of major, who have earned a minimum of 60 credits and are in good academic standing.

Study Abroad
SPIA offers study abroad courses in Switzerland, Malawi, and China (forthcoming), with new opportunities under development.
Sustainable Policy Making & Planning in Europe
Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to explore planning and policy-making in contemporary Europe. We will meet policy-makers and other stakeholders, examine some of Europe’s most pressing challenges and innovative solutions, and see a variety of cities through the eyes of locals.

This three or six credit study abroad program has three components:

      • Fundamentals of sustainability and environmental policy-making in modern Europe (online prior to trip and at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France)
      • Addressing Europe’s wicked sustainability challenges and the roles for civil society (Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic)
      • Making urban transport sustainable, with a focus on how European cities promote walking, cycling, and public transport (Germany and Switzerland)

The trip will afford multiple opportunities to explore how the unique histories, urban forms, and contemporary nature of European cities shape human behavior, and advance and challenge long-term sustainability.

TRIP ITINERARY
Trip Itinerary
After meeting in Prague, the group will travel to the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic to examine a challenging case study that involves environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. The group will then head to Budapest, Hungary and visit a couple of organizations to get a sense of how environmental policy is shaping an expanding Europe, the roles of civil society, and learn about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. The next stop will be Venice, Italy, with a focus on the multi-billion dollar MOSE project constructed to tackle acute flooding. Virginia Tech’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticcino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. In Strasbourg, France the group will visit the European Parliament and meet with local policy makers to discuss sustainable transport. The last stop will be Freiburg, Germany to examine its state-of-the-art cycling, walking, and public transport infrastructure. The course ends in Freiburg in the morning of 16 June, 2018.
APPLICATIONS
Applications are accepted through the Global Education Office. The application deadline is 1 December 2017. All applications must be submitted through the Virginia Tech Global Education Office’s portal. Go to ‘outgoing students’ and then search for ‘sustainable policy making in Europe.’ Their system manages the initial application process, and the collection of necessary forms and other information if accepted.
FINANCIAL AID
Education abroad financial aid may be available for Virginia Tech students. Contact Virginia Tech’s Global Education Office for more information.
FAQ
Who may apply? How will selection take place?
Who may apply? How will selection take place?
The course is targeted towards undergraduate and graduate students in good standing at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. There are no prerequisites, but the selection process will take academic standing and disciplinary records into account. Depending on interest, there may also be an interview process for applicants. Students from other universities may be able to cross-register but should contact us on an individual basis to discuss.
Will we stay at the Ritz-Carlton? Eat in Michelin-stared restaurants?
Will we stay at the Ritz-Carlton? Eat in Michelin-stared restaurants?
Easy answer – no. However, we work hard to find clean, safe and convenient places to stay in each city, even if not always the fanciest. Expect shared accommodations, ranging from hostels to a couple of nice hotels. Many of our meals will be communal, while we will give you stipends to go off in small groups for others.
When will this trip take place?
When will this trip take place?
After meeting in Prague on May 27th, the group will start in the city of Ostrava, Czech Republic, examining a challenging case study that involves environmental, economic and cultural dimensions. The group will then head to Budapest, Hungary and visit a couple of organizations to get a sense of how environmental policy is shaping an expanding Europe, the roles of civil society, and learn about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. The next stop will be Venice, Italy, with a focus on the multi-billion dollar MOSE project constructed to tackle acute flooding. We will also talk about the flood of tourist that inundate Venice, and what is being done to maintain a vibrant yet livable city. Virginia Tech’s Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticcino), Switzerland will be the next stop, serving as a base for exploring sustainability in that region. In Strasbourg, France the group will visit the European Parliament and meet with local policymakers to discuss sustainable transport. The last stop will be Freiburg, Germany to examine its state-of-the-art cycling, walking, and public transport infrastructure. The course ends in Freiburg in the morning of 16th of June, 2018.
How many credits will I get?
How many credits will I get?
While subject to change, the current plan is to offer both three and six credit versions of the course to serve both those who would like to save money on tuition and those looking to maximize the credits gained. Six credit students will have some extra assignments; in particular, the final assignment–which may be completed after the trip–is more substantial for six credit students.
Will we spend most of our time in a classroom? Sightseeing?
Will we spend most of our time in a classroom? Sightseeing?
This highly interactive program involves some classroom time, but more experiential learning in the field. For example, we will spend a couple of days in Freiburg, Germany, which is one of that country’s most sustainable cities. We will focus on transport planning and visit sustainable neighborhoods as well as transport planners, transit planners, and bike planners. We will also do a bike tour to both experience the cycling infrastructure and see some of their energy-efficient buildings. So, you will see sights, but the focus is on the content of the course. The same will be true in the other cities we visit. There will certainly be some time for sightseeing but expect a packed agenda. Participants can, of course, travel before and/or after the program as well.
Where will we visit?
Where will we visit?
We are still finalizing the itinerary for this coming summer, but the current plan includes activities in the following cities: Freiburg (Germany), Strasbourg (France), Zurich and Riva San Vitale (Switzerland), Venice (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), and Prague and Ostrava (Czech Republic). We will also spend a few days at Virginia Tech’s beautiful Steger Center in Riva San Vitale (Ticino Canton), Switzerland
What do I have to do pre-departure?
What do I have to do pre-departure?
In addition to making logistical arrangements and packing your bags, we will start the course with an online module before departure. Students are expected to participate in this as an integral part of the course. It will prepare us all for the trip, and provide an initial introduction to sustainable policy-making and planning in Europe. Some course assignments will also be due pre-departure to minimize the amount of homework on the road.
What is expected of students in this course?
What is expected of students in this course?
This is a credit-granting course, and thus involves the same expectations as courses on campus. You are expected to conform to the Code of Conduct and behave in a manner consistent with University (in addition to local) laws, regulations, and expectations. There will be plenty of fun, but students are expected to participate fully and actively in all educational components of the trip and cooperate with each other and the faculty to ensure the program runs smoothly.
When are applications due? When do I have to pay?
When are applications due? When do I have to pay?
Applications are due by December, 1, 2018. A non-refundable deposit of $750 will be due immediately upon acceptance. The balance of the program fee will be due by early April, 2019.
What is the course number/department? Is it a CLE offering? Can it substitute?
What is the course number/department? Is it a CLE offering? Can it substitute?
This course is listed as UAP 3954 for undergraduates and UAP 5954 for graduate students. It is not recognized as a Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE) offering, but may be substituted in to meet requirements at your advisor’s discretion. EPP and PUA majors and Minors should see Chris LaPlante for information on which courses this can substitute for. If advisors in other deparments need more information to make decisions on suitable substitutions, they may certainly reach out to us – ralphbu [at] vt [dot] edu and tschenk [at] vt [dot] edu.
For more information, please contact Todd Schenk at tschenk@vt.edu. Or view Professor Hall’s Sustainable Policy Making and Planning in Europe blog. (External link).

Experience WASH in Malawi

Instructors: Dr. Ralph P. Hall (VT), and Dr. Emily Van Houweling (University of Denver)
Location: Mzuzu University, Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation
Credits: 3
Duration: 3 weeks, Summer II (tentative dates July 11–29, 2016)
Program Fee: $2,500 (excluding course credit and flights)

This applied and service oriented study abroad experience will provide undergraduate and graduate students with a grounded understanding of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Malawi. The first part of the course will take place in the classroom with lectures, discussions, and small group projects led by faculty at Mzuzu University, Dr. Ralph Hall, and Dr. Emily Van Houweling. The course will begin with a general review of the state of water and sanitation services in different parts of the world and will raise the question of what constitutes access to water. We will review important concepts in WASH and provide an overview of the most pressing WASH issues in Malawi. Following this introduction, students will study the design of relevant WASH technologies and educational programs from the perspective of public health, cultural appropriateness, and sustainability. Armed with an understanding of critical WASH issues and technologies, students will then undertake community-based fieldwork on a WASH-related problem in partnership with the Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation.

A unique aspect of the course is that Virginia Tech and University of Denver students will work alongside students from Mzuzu University to explore a wide range of WASH issues both in the classroom and the field. This pairing of students will promote cultural exchange and enable discussions about ethics and power in the field of international development. The joint teaching model, combined student cohort, and experiential approach to learning will provide students from the U.S. and Malawi with a rich educational and cultural experience.

The course is designed for students interested in working in the global WASH sector or pursuing a career in international development.

Visit Professor Hall’s Malawi blog page for more information. (External link).

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EPP Undergraduate Advisor
Since every student follows their own unique pathway through the program, we recommend you meet with Chris LaPlante at least once a year to review your program of study, learn about the Washington semesters or study abroad offerings, explore internship and/or employment opportunities, and much more. Our mission is to help you succeed, so please let us know how we can help.

Chris LaPlante
209 Architecture Annex | 540-231-3831 | chrisl@vt.edu
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:30-3:00 (during the academic year)

SPIA Contacts

Ralph Hall, Undergraduate Program Director
201 Architecture Annex
540-231-7332 | rphall@vt.edu

Chris LaPlante, Undergraduate Advisor
209 Architecture Annex
540-231-3831 | chrisl@vt.edu

Program Location

Blacksburg
140 Otey St NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061

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