Students gain hands-on experience in environmental activism through the service learning component of the Environmental Policy and Politics course taught by Government Professor John Berg.

“What our students are learning by participating in this service learning project is how they can make a difference and become better citizens,” said Berg. “This is important to me and it’s important to them.”

In partnership with the Boston office of Clean Water Action, a national environmental advocacy organization, students work as part of a team on projects addressing the environmental, health and economic concerns that affect the community.

Students tackle real issues head-on. Assignments include surveying teenagers about personal care products and pointing out which contain harmful toxins; canvassing Boston neighborhoods with low recycling rates to determine why more residents don’t recycle and encouraging participation; reaching out to local governments to offer information about a 2014 Massachusetts law requiring gas companies to repair leaks in a timely manner thereby reducing the danger of explosions and saving consumers millions of dollars over time.

The students are required to complete 15 hours of service during the semester, submit a reflective essay and make a presentation on their service learning experience.

“Throughout the project, students learn how their abstract knowledge of environmental issues fits in the real world,” said Berg. “It’s a positive experience because they’re working so closely with an organization that is so heavily involved in environmental advocacy.”