SLS (Serve-Learn-Sustain) Study Abroad Program

Dr. Boulard with students
Stéphanie Boulard with the 2021 SLS Students

In the Fall of 2021 Stéphanie Boulard served as the Program Director for the Serve-Learn-Sustain France Program. The SLS France Program focuses on the study of sustainable development, ecology, and climate issues. Throughout the semester spent at Georgia Tech Lorraine in Metz, France Stéphanie provided a multitude of opportunities for the students to interact with local organizations and sustainable partners within the Grand-Est. In addition to the in-class lecture and discussion, the SLS Program is full of real-life experiences and learning opportunities that are unique and help engage the students even more. The multitude of excursions facilitated, organized, and led by Stéphanie included visits to the green city of Strasbourg, an eco-guided student-led visit to Paris, a tour of the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant, and many more.

Each of the visits helped to emphasize the themes and topics being studied in the lecture courses taught by Stéphanie herself. Throughout the semester the students were able to explore all the key concepts related to sustainable development and ecology which allowed them to gain a solid understanding of the contemporary state of our world and which allows them to better understand the trajectory towards their future.

Dr. Boulard planting trees with students
Planting trees with Motris Association

As suggested in the title, the Serve-Learn-Sustain Program also contained a service-learning element wherein the students engaged in weekly volunteering at local organizations to help promote green lifestyles and eco-friendly living. For example, Stéphanie joined the students in planting trees with the Motris Association around Metz. Additionally, thanks to Stéphanie’s careful coordination and liaising with the heads of the organizations such as the Oppidum Composting Site, the Metz À Vélo bike organization, and more the students were able to engage and work with a variety of projects in and around Metz.

My favorite part of the SLS program was having the ability to exit the GTL English bubble and get out into the community, into an immersion setting, and learn about the French culture and people of Moselle.

– Jean Henry Clashman Fall 2021 SLS student
Dr. Boulard and students in the Zero Waste Workshop
Zero Waste Workshop

Thanks to the great variety of opportunities during the program, Stéphanie and her students were able to attend many unique events such as the 50th Anniversary of the European Institute of Ecology. They were also able to meet directors of ecologically pertinent films such as Director Aissa Maiga of Marcher Sur L’Eau, as well as anthropologist Frédéric Keck and philosopher Pierre Cassou-Noguès through the course of their studies in the semester. They covered topics including studying circular economies, the Anthropocene, Agro-Ecology, Renewable Energies, Urban vs. Rural Ecology, and many more, which allowed for each student to develop a thorough understanding of the complexity and relevance of sustainability and ecology from personal to global scales.

Dr. Boulard and students with Director Aissa Maiga
With Film Director Aïssa Maïga at the Marcher Sur L’Eau film premiere at Cinéplanète Film Festival
Dr. Boulard and Students with IEE personnel and Mauritanian Delegation
With the European Institute of Ecology and the Mauritanian Delegates at La Grande Muraille Verte premiere

To read more about what the students were able to focus on in detail and study check out the SLS Student blog, which was regularly updated by one of the students on the program. To be able to learn more about the specifics of the program please head over to the SLS website where more course details and enrollment information can be found.