Rockland P.L.U.S. (Planning Land Use with Students) is a unique program for high school students to make connections to real-world planning issues and decisions, share their ideas and vision with their peers and mentors, and learn more about careers and their own inner leadership potential and strengths. The program is a collaborative partnership of Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Keep Rockland Beautiful, Rockland Conservation & Service Corps, St. Thomas Aquinas College, & Rockland Economic Development Corporation.
Rockland P.L.U.S. begins with three pre-symposium workshops in the classroom. Students learn about planning guidelines that promote a community balance of Social Connections, Economic Opportunity and Environmental Sensitivity (S.E.E.), then apply these concepts to their vision of smart growth and transit-oriented development to a site in their own community. Curriculum materials and activities highlight and incorporate key science concepts as students consider the incorporation of ‘green’ infrastructure and other elements of sustainable design.
At the program’s culminating symposium, students present their visions for local redevelopment, then work together with peers from schools throughout Rockland and over 30 local professionals who volunteer as mentors to map out a vision for a selected site in the county.