FLSI@Oberlin is unique. While it begins inside the classroom, with a mix of readings, lecture and discussion, it recognizes that sustainability is often best understood beyond the academic setting -- through engaging field trips, conversations with established professionals, and hands-on projects and leadership opportunities. The curriculum is informed by four building blocks:
A range of topics (e.g. energy, transportation, food, housing, waste and economic development) will be examined across differing locations and sectors, including business, government and nonprofits. The program will make use of Oberlin College and the greater Cleveland area's unique geography to study these issues in a range of contexts, from a recovering rust belt city, to rural and small town Ohio (view a visual representation of this "transect" here). Students will learn how real-world practitioners -- from small-town farmers, to urban community organizers, public officials and corporate executives -- are creating change, and how they have addressed the obstacles they've encountered along the way.
Emphasis will be placed on identifying and developing each student's leadership potential, as well as analyzing the unique forms of leadership required to confront complex and rapidly evolving problems.
Sustainability issues are complex. Students will learn to better understand their interdependencies and recognize their root causes.
Prior to the two week seminar, students will participate in a one-month preparatory curriculum pairing them with undergraduate mentors who will also serve as program teaching assistants. After the seminar, students will become part of a network of current students, college mentors and established sustainability leaders, to supporting their future education and career paths.