“I hadn’t fully appreciated the degree to which attitudes about health and environmental policy are shaped by economic constraints, right down to the community and individual levels.”

John Hare-Grogg, Strengthening Community Environmental Health through Duke-HBCU Partnerships, 2014

“The highlight of the project had to be our failures. This sparked something in us that pushed us to continue, provoking us to strive for nothing short of the success of this project.”

Destiny ModesteStrengthening Community Environmental Health through Duke-HBCU Partnerships, 2014

Urban Environmental Justice & Social Entrepreneurship – Spring 2015

Lead instructors:images

Deborah Rigling Gallagher, Ph.D.,  Associate Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School, Executive Director of the Duke Leadership Program

Rebecca Vidra, Ph.D., Lecturer of Environmental Science and Policy in the Nicholas School

Danielle Purifoy, JD, Duke University Environmental Policy Ph.D. student 


DukeImmerse is a semester-long program in which all courses are small seminars, interdisciplinary and build on a single theme. Urban Environmental Justice & Social Entrepreneurship is a unique Duke Immerse program selects students from Duke University and Paul Quinn College (PQC), a small, private historically black college in Dallas, Texas.

Eight students from each institution will work together to confront issues of environmental injustice through the practices of restoration ecology and social entrepreneurship. Students will also conduct research on cutting edge community involvement tools and apply what they learned to design and implement meaningful opportunities for community engagement.  PQC students will be in residence at Duke for two weeks and Duke students will be in residence at PQC for three weeks, one week at the beginning of the semester for course orientation and two weeks at the end of the semester to discuss their social entrepreneurship projects with community members.  Learn more about the partnership here: http://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/leveragingcommunity/

Courses: paul-quinn

ENV/PUBPOL/AAAS Special Topics: Environmental Justice (SS, EI) – Utilizes the history of the United States’ environmental justice movement and several case studies to address a series of critical questions about the relationship between social stratification and the environment, public participation in environmental planning processes, and the roles of various actors (government, communities, scholars) in the development of what Agyeman calls “just sustainability”.

ENV 217: Urban Restoration Ecology (NS, EI, W) – Surveys the principles of ecological restoration, from site assessment and history to restoration planning to monitoring. Students will write reflective essays, analyze case studies, and use several tools to re-imagine the McCommas Bluff landfill in Dallas, TX as an urban restoration project.

ENV/PUBPOL Special Topics: Environmental and Social Entrepreneurship (SS, EI) – Explores the theories of social entrepreneurship and applies them in practice. Student teams will partner with individual entrepreneurs in Durham and Dallas to develop entrepreneurial project proposals focused on addressing environmental injustices. 

ENV Special Topics: Tools for Community Involvement in Decision Making (R) – Examination of tools used to engage and involve community members in decision making about the future of their community. Students will learn about traditional tools such as public meetings, focus groups, and study circles, as well more cutting edge participatory tools such as electronic democracy and photo voice. Students will conduct research on these tools and choose a suite of them to use in engaging with community members in Highland Hills, Dallas, Texas.