Drexel University


Drexel University
The Environmental Collaboratory - Resilient Communities Partnership
Case Type
Program Stories
School Size
20,000 - 40,000
Focus Areas
Democratic Governance, Environmental Sustainability, Sustainability
Built Environment

The Environmental Collaboratory – Resilient Communities Partnership

Websites | https://drexel.edu/sustainability/academic-mission/teaching-climate-and-sustainability/

The Environmental Collaboratory-Resilient Communities Partnership combines three of Drexel’s key commitments: working in partnership with its Philadelphia and regional neighbors as an engaged anchor institution, addressing critical issues of sustainability and resilience, and bringing rich experiential learning opportunities to students. The Resilient Communities Partnership contributes to our region’s readiness for climate adaptation and builds climate leadership and problem solving skills for Drexel’s students.

The Environmental Collaboratory-Resilient Communities Partnership is a new program at Drexel, developed by the Climate & Sustainability Working Group. It emerges from the creation at Drexel of a comprehensive institutional climate and sustainability agenda that integrates planning and programming in the university’s academics, operations, and public engagement. We have launched the program with internal project opportunities with Drexel’s Business Services, which oversees student dining services, among other functions, Procurement Services, and Real Estate & Facilities, connecting faculty and students with projects that can be addressed in the space of a term. As the City of Philadelphia and communities all around the region increasingly grapple with the rapidly intensifying impacts of climate change, we are already experiencing hotter and wetter summer weather; our goal is to forge partnerships and provide communities with additional tools for problem-solving.

Fun Facts about The Environmental Collaboratory – Resilient Communities Partnership

Public or Private Institution | Private
Total Student Enrollment | 27,000
Year Program Established | 2020
Country | US

The DU Climate & Sustainability Working group hosts interdisciplinary case competitions twice a year where undergraduate students across the University are given a problem to solve or a prompt to address. Teams of students have a compressed time frame (1 or 2 weeks) to develop their projects and present to a panel of judges which consist of faculty and staff from different departments of the University. While to date these competitions have been geared towards campus projects, they have given students an opportunity to solve a real-world problem with a team of interdisciplinary peers, and sometimes even walk away with a cash prize! Examples of case competition prompts include: In Drexel’s dining services, how can we support the need for student safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic while minimizing single-use plastics? What does the Drexel community need to know about the risks of climate change on our health?

City Partners

Drexel University has established long standing relationships with agencies and governmental offices within the City of Philadelphia, including the Philadelphia Water Department, Office of Sustainability, and the Department of Public Health, as well as major companies and organizations in the region such as PECO (Philadelphia’s energy provider), Comcast and the Academy of Natural Sciences. Many of these agencies, companies and organizations offer co-op opportunities for our students to gain experience in the field. The EPIC-N program at Drexel allows our faculty and students to branch out to develop external partnerships with municipalities in the broader metropolitan area. Some of these relationships have been developed through an ongoing partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection where undergraduate students are paired with a local government in PA to develop a Climate Action Plan for the municipality.

Contact Details

Jen Britton
Director of Communications and Special Projects, Office of University and Community Partnerships

Korin Tangtrakul
Sustainability Manager, Sustainable Water Resource Engineering Lab

Drexel Climate and Sustainability Working Group
3101 Market St, Suite 201
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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