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Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
This paper presents a campus tour assignment in a first-year undergraduate environmental studies course at York University, Toronto, Canada. As a pedagogical tool, the assignment enables students to interrogate the dominant narratives of a university's immediate physical spaces and to apply broader theoretical and practical concepts to their meanings and understandings. An exploration of three sites on the tour is offered as illustrations: a storm water pond, a woodlot, and a native species garden. Complicating the histories of these sites provides entry points for a variety of conversations and debates in reference to environmental sustainability, social justice, and civic engagement. The main objective of the campus tour is to prompt students to move beyond description to analysis and to raise questions about campus features by making connections to historical choices, policy alternatives and self-reflexivity. Many of the ideas presented could be modified for use on other campuses and could invite a larger discursive discussion on social and sustainability issues.