Summer Service-Learning Experiences

  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences
  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences
  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences
  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences
  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences
  • Summer Service-Learning Experiences

The INVST Community Leadership Program's Summer Experiences are life-changing.

Our DSSLE offers students a unique opportunity to travel together for a month and learn first-hand about environmental justice.

The DSSLE begins with a wilderness adventure in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, where students develop a connection with the natural world. From there, students go to Paonia, Colorado with INVST grad Jeff Schwartz and his family at Delicious Orchards, and they learn and serve at Thistle Whistle Farm, an organic farm. They also hear the industry perspective on energy production, visiting Arch Coal and the Oxbow Coal Mine, and they hear about the economic benefits of extraction for certain rural communities.

Exploring energy issues contextualizes their visit to the Diné (or Navajo) Nation in Northeastern Arizona. On the reservation, INVST students learn about the social and environmental impacts of the coal mining industry on indigenous people and places. In Piñon, AZ, they volunteer with the Black Mesa Water Coalitiion, a youth-led grassroots organization. They also visit a generating station in Page, Arizona where they have the opportunity to see how energy and power are produced from coal. In Northern New Mexico, students stay at Casa Taos, a retreat center for activists, and they meet INVST co-founder and eco-feminist Gaia Mika, while experiencing first-hand some more sustainable ways of living and working the earth. They also learn about water issues and acequias.

Finally, the month ends in Colorado’s capitol city, where INVST students have the opportunity to engage elected political officials inclusing Joe Salazar, Michael Bennet, and community leaders who are running for office including Alice Madden and Edie Hooton. INVST students speak with coal industry lobbysists, as well as Colorado's sustainability leaders. Throughout the month, the INVST students consider how energy and the US economy interact. Students look for innovative solutions to complex environmental and social problems.

The Climate Justice Summer with INVST is an unforgettable learning journey.

After extensive reading and preparation, students spend time at the United States/Mexico border where they volunteer with Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. Annunciation House, our partner since 1993, is a shelter for refugees seeking political asylum. Students serve with recent immigrants from Central America and political refugees from all over the world. A shelter for human beings in desperate need of basic care, Annunciation House approaches guests with compassion. INVST students learn for one week about border dynamics and immigration issues, encountering individuals and families and hearing their stories, as well as meeting with legal clinics, women’s rights and worker rights centers, in addition to the Border Patrol and detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). INVST students develop a nuanced understanding of the complex situation on our border with Mexico.

In 2016, after their week on the border, INVST students traveled to Managua, Nicaragua with the School for International Training (SIT). In Nicaragua, INVST students learned about Fair Trade, Free Trade and economic relationships and models that connect the United States with this developing country. Students met with various individuals and organizations to discuss the maquiladoras (factories) in Free Trade Zones.  As well, they became informed about alternative economic models, and met community leaders in both urban and rural Nicaragua. INVST students explored how women and youth are affected by globalization, and they examined projects in Nicaraguan communities that attempted to follow a different development path.

Beginning in 2017, our Economic Justice Summer curriculum will evolve into a travel opportunity that affords INVST students the chance to learn about the most pressing problems and solutions facing us as a global community: human migration, push - pull, and economic justice. We do not yet know where students will go, but we CAN promise that it will be a meaningful, memorable and significant summer learning journey focused on social justice. INVST has been offering summer travel for 26 years and we do change our curriculum from time-to-time, in order to make sure we are exposing our learners to the most pressing current issues.

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