The Eco-village Experience at California State University, Fresno: An Integrated Approach to Service Learning
AbstractPoverty has caused enormous pressures and urgent needs in the city of Fresno. In an effort to incorporate a deep awareness of social, cultural, and environmental needs of the Fresno area in engineering and design education, a pilot design-build program entitled Eco-village at California State University, Fresno, has been established. Students from two colleges (i.e., Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Humanities) are challenged to design and construct meaningful emergency housing after investigating various conditions harming the homeless population in Fresno and elsewhere around the world. This unique experiential program allows students the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to gain social, cultural, and environmental consciousness in both their professional and personal lives. In the long term, the program is staged to design for the needs of a community it will serve. This paper presents the lessons learned from the program's first semester experience in the areas of integrated design and construction education, as well as the collaboration among students, faculty, practicing professionals, and the Fresno community.
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