University of Vermont

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Sustainable Development in Small Island States: Saint Lucia

An International Service-Learning course with focus on Community and Economic Development of Small Island Developing States

CDAE 186 is an introduction to sustainable development in a small island developing state (SIDS). In this course, students utilize knowledge and skills accumulated throughout their studies to address critical needs in the small island state of St. Lucia, West Indies. As an international service-learning course, students spend the fall semester planning and preparing, followed by a two-week project implementation period, during winter break.

Read the Syllabus here (PDF)

During the first portion of the fall semester, students delve into the socio-economic factors that impact development in St. Lucia. Course work done during this time introduces the history, economics and culture of the region. The second portion of the fall semester includes collaborating with the government and community partners in St. Lucia to develop service-learning projects. Project partners identify specific community needs or problems for which solutions are then collectively formed into service-learning projects.

The two-week field component takes place after the conclusion of the fall semester. During this time, students collaborate with project partners in St Lucia to implement the service-learning projects throughout various communities. Also, there is significant amount of time spent doing ongoing assessments and evaluations of each project allowing for on-site alteration and reflection. Flexibility and adaptation are key components to a successful international service-learning project in this course.

The course culminates with a formal presentation and report done for project partners, the St. Lucia Consumer Affairs Department and invited guests. Students develop the presentations into final reports that reflect the entirety of work done both in the classroom and in the field.