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Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy

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Discover Biodiversity & SustainabilityDiscover Biodiversity & Sustainability

Identify and focus on how biodiversity can help sustain the world around you. In this immersive program, you’ll learn how urban development and green infrastructure, along with design thinking, go together to achieve conservation and preservation. 

Take a dive into material usage and consumption among consumers to see how sustainability is incorporated into the urban world. With the reduction of plastic in consumer use, you’ll be able to see the importance of biodiversity to humans and the emerging roles that preservation and urban biodiversity play in development of green infrastructure.


Take Green InitiativeTake Green Initiative

If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. During captivating Faculty Forums, you will hear from and interact with renowned members of Rice University's faculty. The forums will provide you with a glimpse at what your future collegiate educational experience will be like and will also provide you with valuable knowledge and career insights.

Sample topics that may be covered include:

  • A case study focused on Everlane, a sustainable clothing company
  • Project-based exploration of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as it relates to environmental sustainability, charity, health & wellness, diversity & inclusion, and ethics & governance


Interactive Skills  Workshops

Interactive Skills Workshops

At the Urban Sustainability Academy, you will participate in challenges that will help you build skills that you can apply both at the program and when you return home.

You will have the chance to participate in a hands-on biodiversity assessment of Rice University’s campus and the city of Houston. During this interactive activity, you will collect data on grasses, trees, insects, and more as you get a better understanding of local preservation and the importance of biodiversity in a community.

During the Build Houston 2030 workshop green infrastructure project, you’ll understand what the criteria is for National Park Cities and you’ll use a technical platform to construct and present a recommendation for a sustainable growth plan for Houston and Rice University.

After your experience at the Urban Sustainability Academy, you’ll have the chance to make a documentary based on the knowledge you gained throughout the program. The documentary will feature footage of all your trials, successes, failures, and input from peers and experts that played a role in your total program experience.

Constructing a Better PlanetConstructing a Better Planet

During your time at the Urban Sustainability Academy, you will have exclusive access to sustainability- and biodiversity-related locations in the greater Houston area, such as the Houston Arboretum, the Harris County Flood Control District’s Bioswale Park, and the Buffalo Bayou Park.

While at the unique site visits, you will understand local preservation efforts in the city of Houston. You’ll be able to interact with industry professionals and gain information about the wide array of opportunities available in the fields of environmental science.

In addition, you will also have exclusive access to Rice University’s research lab. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with important people in the community to witness real-world applications of everything you have learned in the program.

You will leave the program and each site visit with a better understanding of what the future holds for urban sustainability and how you can be a part of this next wave of discovery.