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Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures

UF’s Sustainability Exploration Program for Teens 

By Celia Goodyear 

An important part of life today is sustainability, which is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.  

To help build a sustainable future, the University of Florida will offer a new program to help prepare the leaders of tomorrow. The Sustainability Exploration Program gives high school students aged 15 to 18 an opportunity to gain hands-on experience building a community design that exemplifies sustainability in action. They will also have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and industry professionals. 

“The primary initiative of the University of Florida’s Sustainability Exploration Program (SEP) is to offer both valuable insight and first-hand experience to prospective students interested in sustainability and to understand the path to study, research and a career in sustainability,” said Bahar Armaghani, director of the program.  

The Sustainability Exploration Program is part of the university’s College of Design, Construction and Planning.  

Armaghani has been involved in the field of sustainability for more than 20 years. In addition to being the program’s director, she is an instructional associate professor and a LEED fellow.  

She said this program will give her a chance to introduce the younger generation to the field and show them how they can help find solutions to the challenges they will face in the future.  

Summer learning 

SEP will take place this summer from June 15 to 29. During the two-week course of study, students will live on campus and gain experience solving 21st-century problems.  

“Students participating in this Sustainability Exploration Program will learn to assess, identify and find solutions for the climate challenges, to see sustainability in action with hands-on experience using the University’s buildings and grounds,” said Armaghani. 

She said they will learn how the University of Florida is involved in sustainability. Currently, UF is the top public university in building green. It is also the second public university in the nation to have a wastewater treatment plant, generating its reclaimed water for campus-wide irrigation. 

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Each day, the students’ activities will include instruction, site visits, field trips to smart cities, sustainability goals, indoor and outdoor water conservation, energy conservation, renewable energy, waste management, wellness and carbon neutrality planning.  

Armaghani said students will also visit the city of Orlando and Walt Disney World, where they will go behind the scenes and learn about their sustainability initiatives.  

They will also hear from UF faculty involved in sustainability and other industry leaders.  

For more information 

The University of Florida’s Sustainability Exploration Program is open to all high school students ages 15 to 18. Applications are required for students interested in participation. For application and cost information, go to:

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