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Sophomore Scholars in Residence (SSIR)

The SSIR program combines a traditional academic course with co-curricular learning activities throughout a student’s entire sophomore year. Each community consists of a one-unit course in the fall semester and a half-unit group project in the spring semester, with various co-curricular experiences that enhance learning. Throughout the year, students are working on both individual and group capstone projects that they present to the University community each spring.

SSIR students live together in co-ed residence halls surrounded by other SSIR communities, creating a unique academic community within the residence halls, so that students have opportunities to interact with students of differing communities, while having a shared experience. This experience supports the University’s larger strategic goals of an integrative and distinctive student experience.

Every community has strong engagement by a faculty member who teaches the class, travels with them, serves as mentor to their research, and guides the community throughout the year. Students also participate in workshops and have interactions with staff from Career Services, the Speech Center, librarians, and the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement that complement and enhance their experiences. Communities also connect with the strong network of Richmond alumni working in or around the topic of the community.

Sustainability Related SSIR Programs

Healthcare, the Environment, and Biomedicine

Why do people in some communities in the U.S. live, on average, 20-25 years longer than people in other communities? Around Richmond, why do the residents of Gilpin Court near the Medical College of Virginia at VCU live, on average, 20 years shorter than the residents of Westover Hills and neighborhoods around UR? Why does Virginia have some counties with the longest life expectancy and some counties with the lowest life expectancy in the U.S.? And what do these disparities say about the impacts of medical access and the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health? These are the main questions that guide this SSIR program.

Learn more here.

The Paradox of the Cultivated Wild

The National Park Service is tasked with protecting natural and cultural resources, while simultaneously providing opportunities for public use and enjoyment. This “dual mandate” exemplifies the NPS’s unique and complex purpose, but presents a paradoxical mission that draws the Park service in apparently contradictory directions. We will explore how the NPS interacts with the American people through this dual mandate, the complexities involved in making these decisions, and the prospect for long-term relevance of America’s National Parks.

Learn more here.

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