Summer Program

Dates  July 1-15 (or 22), 2014 

Program Description: Sustainable Neighbors Network’s (SNN) summer program will engage students in working with villagers to reapply appropriate aspects of traditional culture in the goal of defining and enhancing sustainable development in Africa, where ancient heritage and community values are still intact to a degree rarely found elsewhere.  The 2014 courses focus on the possibility of restoring either original or adapted versions of practices that previously protected the environment and its people. Accordingly it will share with the urban ecovillage - or transition town - movement a serious focus on re-greening traditional neighborhood areas of Senegal. 

​The three-week course will engage students in understanding an ancient cultural heritage of ecologically protective beliefs and practices, in which both men and women leaders have played key roles in resolving community conflict, and in protecting mental, social and ecological health of the Senegalese people.. Understanding will be expressed in service learning to enhance the ways in which this tradition continues to support sustainable community development. 

​The program takes place in Senegal, where students live in homestay families and study with English speaking Senegalese student partners. It will include academic theory courses and facilitation provided by CCNY, SNN faculty, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop faculty, staff and/or guardians of Senegal's ancient traditions.  Equal numbers of American and Senegalese students will form cross-cultural service learning project teams in small groups with villagers and mentors, working with the aspects of past tradition and current practices that correspond to their personal interests.  During the second week, each student village team will carry out a small project. The projects are based on the findings of the qualitative research of the community conducted by previous cohorts in 2013 and winter 2014. The last part of the program will be devoted to group reporting of the conclusions of participating decision-makers, assisted by students, as appropriate, in writing up their conclusions or expressing their recommendations in PowerPoint presentations.

​ In view of the importance of trees and other plants, both to indigenous culture and to reversing climate change our main service learning activity will be tree planting, permaculture home gardens and plants providing green ground cover. We will follow the successful guidelines of the Global Cooling Project, which is active in Foundioune, a town in the Sin Saloum region to the southeast of Dakar.

​Other projects may include a return to eating more foods made from home grown Senegalese millet, instead of imported Asian rice or American wheat; visits to the national archives or to IFAN to document earlier cultural practices; work with local musicians to revive and adapt beautiful abandoned traditional work songs to current popular styles; or to test a neighborhood agreement to return to communal safeguarding and correcting the behavior of the community’s children. 

This course will be co-sponsored by Senegal’s Ministry of Culture. Instruction is in English, with French and Wolof translations provided by Senegalese students and faculty during service learning.

Costs  Program Fee: $2,000  (Airfare, travel expenses, souvenirs, etc. not included) 

​Contact  Roger Morton at