Students in Professor Victor Donnay's Math Modeling and Sustainability course took field trips into Philadelphia as part of the Tri-Co Philly program.
In addition to twice-weekly math classes, on Friday afternoons, the course had a “lab period” which was used to take field trips in Philadelphia exploring issues of sustainability (or just seeing cool things in the city).
Field trips included: a tour of the environmental features of the Friends Center, a LEED rated green building; attending a conference on the Green New Deal at Penn; taking part in the Climate Strike March; going on a boat tour starting at Penn’s landing, going down the Delaware River and then back up the Schuylkill to Center City; a visit to the Water Works Education Center; and to top off the semester, ascending 548 feet to the Observation Deck above City Hall.
The class hosted a number of guest speakers including: Elizabeth Yeampierre, a noted climate justice activist, who was the keynote speaker for the entire fall Tri-Co Philly program; Susan Jin Davis '86, Chief Sustainability Officer at Comcast and member of the College’s Board of Trustees; and Cheyenne Flores, manager of the City’s Heat Initiative in the Office of Sustainability. As part of Parents' Weekend, Professor Donnay took advantage of his new found knowledge of the city to lead a tour along the Schuylkill Banks trail followed by a visit at the Water Works Center.
The Sustainability course has a Praxis component in which teams of students work to address an issue an issue of sustainability of relevance to a community partner. This semester’s teams were: Joanna Tran and Nick Ramos who carried out a cost-benefit analysis of installing LED lights in the gymnasium of Our Mother of Good Counsel Church; Sarah Golobish, Tarzan MacMood, and Ruth McLeod who worked with the River Keepers organization to examine the environmental impacts of a proposed six-million-square-foot warehouse complex located on New Jersey farm land; and Sophia McConnell and Diane Moore who worked with the grassroots group Climate Dads to explore the potential for the Philadelphia School District to use electric school buses.
Next semester, Professor Donnay will do a slightly different version of this course as part of the Climate Change 360 course cluster.