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SYN 100 Course Information 

SYN 100 is a project-based course that builds upon foundational skills by taking a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to complex global problems. SYN 100 is the third course in the Synthesis Program’s three-course sequence. Each section focuses on a different theme, challenge, or question, and will empower students to learn through a project that deals with complex and intersecting global challenges. 

Note for Fall 2022: The initial launch of SYN 100 in Fall 2022 is smaller with only five sections being offered. The Synthesis Program will continue to expand our section offerings in the winter and spring quarters. If there is not a section that interests you, or you are unable to enroll, we highly recommend you delay taking SYN 100 until a future quarter.

Students may have the opportunity to continue their SYN 2 project, if applicable. If your SYN 2 project fits in with a current section’s theme, you may have the opportunity to continue it. In future quarters, we hope to offer a section of SYN 100 in which you could continue your project if it doesn’t fit in with one of the other section offerings.

Fall 2022 Section Information

Section 091537: Climate Change, Cultural Heritage, and Digital Documentation

Instructor: Neil Smith

Documenting and tracking climatic change is a complex task. In particular, climatically endangered natural and cultural heritage sites are disappearing at a rapid pace. Their digital documentation can both preserve our knowledge of their current state but also serve as a tool for education and communication on climatic change to a broad audience.

In this SYN 100 class, students will work in cross-disciplinary groups to design projects around the problem of digital documentation of climatically endangered sites. A special emphasis of the class will be on utilizing VR/AR, photogrammetry, GIS, and gaming engines as platforms of digital documentation and dissemination. The course is open to all majors and will introduce students to the topics and related tools mentioned above.

Lecture: T/Th 11:00 am - 12:20 pm

Discussion: F 9:00 am - 9:50 am

Section 091539: Mental Health and Climate Justice Activism

Instructor: Leslie Meyer

Youth activists have been at the center of social movements throughout history, including global climate justice action. But, activism and confronting the harsh realities of climate change can take a toll on mental health, exacerbating already high levels of anxiety, depression, and trauma-related stress — especially among young people of color.

This SYN 100 course departs from the belief that climate justice action won’t be sustainable nor liberatory unless it’s healing. Students will work in groups to develop projects that address the question: how can young people center individual and collective wellbeing in their climate justice activism? We will engage with scholarship on social movement strategies, healing justice, and the mental health effects of climate change. This is a project-based course, not group therapy, but during our class meetings we will practice what we preach; students will be expected to be open-minded to experimenting with and sharing strategies for managing ecological angst and grief, such as check-ins, breath work, short guided meditations, and journaling. 

Lecture: T/Th 12:30 pm - 1:50 pm

Discussion: F 10:00 am - 10:50 am

Section 091541: Environmental Justice in Divided Territory

Instructor: Kyle Haines

Despite the proximity of urban settlements, residents and communities along either side of the US-Mexico border continue to confront planetary-scale issues like climate change separately, with drastic consequences for the most vulnerable in our region. In the Tijuana River Estuary in southern San Diego County and the Los Laureles Canyon in Tijuana, ecological change and social vulnerability converge to produce major human health and ecological security concerns in both countries.

In this section of SYN 100, students will be introduced to the efforts by the UCSD Center on Global Justice and our partners to build cross-border solutions to climate change through the lens of this canyon-estuary system. Specifically, students will learn the social, ecological, and urban context of the canyon-estuary system, be asked to articulate the continuity and rupture represented in the binational system, and finally design and carry out collaborative projects that address adaptive resilience to climate change in a just and resilient way.

Lecture: T/Th 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm

Discussion: F 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Section 091543: Virtual Reality and Climate Change

Instructor: Trish Stone

Virtual Reality applications represent the growing edge of technology in many businesses today. But how can Virtual Reality development and tools address Climate Change? In this SYN100 class, students will work in cross-disciplinary groups to design their own VR projects, for the platform of their choice. These projects could take the form of websites, online games, mobile apps, or headset experiences, depending on the interest of the group. These projects can focus on a number of disciplines relevant to the climate crisis, including but not limited to education, communication, visual arts, technology, and community outreach. This course will be accessible to all students, regardless of major. 

Lecture: T/Th 3:30 pm - 4:50 pm

Discussion: F 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm

Section 091545: Water

Instructor: Brenna Gormally

Water and climate change are inextricably linked. With rising temperatures and sea levels, access to clean water becomes increasingly challenging; by 2040, nearly 25% of children will live in areas without reliable access to clean water. Elevated greenhouse gasses have increased the acidity of our oceans, harming marine organisms; it is estimated that over 50% of marine life will be affected by ocean acidification. And finally, our reliance on plastics has led to unprecedented levels of pollution in our waterways; there is currently an accumulation of plastic in the Pacific Ocean that equates to twice the size of Texas.

In this section of SYN 100, students will work in collaborative groups to design and execute projects that address the connections between water and climate change. Projects can approach this challenge from any angle including, but not limited to education, communication, engineering, or visual arts.

Lecture: T/Th 9:30 am - 10:50 pm

Discussion: F 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

Additional Questions?

Please review the Synthesis Program section on Seventh College's FAQ page. For questions or concerns not addressed, contact

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