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Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy

Are you ready for your future to grow? The Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy, Powered by Envision, is an incredible opportunity to spend 10 days in one of the epicenters of sustainability and biodiversity. During the program, you will gain invaluable hands-on career experience and exposure while learning from and engaging with leading minds in the environmental science industry, gaining unique access to industry facilities, and hearing directly from Rice University faculty on 21st century conservation innovations.

Rice University Summer Programs for High School Students

High School Students at the Urban Sustainability Summer Program

Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy

Do you want to see your future grow?

The Urban Sustainability Academy is an immersive program designed specifically for students who are interested in pursuing careers in fields of sustainability and biodiversity and who want to be at the forefront of the developments and demands of the future.

While staying on the campus of Rice University, you will enjoy forums from Rice's renowned faculty and receive unparalleled exposure to industry scientists through exclusive site visits, which will also provide you with a glimpse into your future.

During the program, you will visit sites like the Houston Arboretum and the Harris County Flood Control District’s Bioswale Project, where you’ll see the first-hand effects of sustainable development, local conservation efforts, and real-world ecological methodologies.

Get on board with a world leader in the sustainability and biodiversity industries and take the first step toward growing your career and discovering your true potential by attending the Urban Sustainability Academy. 

2022 Dates & Tuition

Houston, TX Rice University June 11-20 $3,695
Tuition includes room & board, site visits & transportation during program, lectures, simulations, curriculum & materials, and faculty & staff. 

Please note: Tuition will be increasing by $100 for all sessions and locations on February 1, 2022, as a result of increased program operation and other inflationary costs. Additionally, we are currently evaluating all aspects of the Urban Sustainability Academy and my make changes to the curriculum to ensure that the program meets the most up-to-date health and safety standards. 

Program Highlights VIEW MORE

Discover Biodiversity & Sustainability

Implement the full scope of biodiversity and sustainability through site visits, speakers, and engaging simulations. Over the course of the program, you will learn how urban development and green infrastructure, along with design thinking, go together to achieve conservation and preservation.

Take Green Initiative

Participate in engaging forums led by distinguished Rice University faculty members and environmental science professionals that cover compelling industry topics.

Interactive Skills Workshops

Gain the knowledge that you need to compete in these dynamic fields during workshops designed to help you develop and enhance essential 21st-century success skills that are centered around the preservation and conservation of the world around you. With each experience, you will gain a stronger understanding of everyday biodiversity and sustainability roles and applications, and how to grow your path to success.

Constructing a Better Planet

See what your future may hold by exploring career-relevant sites that demonstrate preservation efforts and ecological policies at work today. You’ll go through the full research, analysis, and recommendation process of understanding biodiversity to immerse yourself in real-world, hands-on experience that will teach you the methods of preservation on a global scale.



Tuition Tuition for the Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy covers most of the expenses incurred during the program. Tuition DOES NOT cover transportation to and from the program. LEARN MORE


Scholarships Envision offers a limited number of partial scholarships to qualified students each year based upon financial need, scholastic leadership, achievements, and other factors. LEARN MORE


Fundraising Let us show you how other students use fundraising to cover some or all of their tuition costs. Make fundraising part of your personal success story. LEARN MORE

Payment Plan

Payment Plan You may pay in full today or choose to use one of our payment options.

Urban Sustainability Academy FAQs

  • Is the Urban Sustainability Academy for me?

    If you are a high school student ready to build a path to success in college and a career in either Environmental Sustainability or Biodiversity, this program is for you.

    To attend the 2022 summer session of the Rice University Urban Sustainability Academy, Powered by Envision, you must be in grades 9-12 during the 2021-2022 school year. Most of our students are either nominated by educators or selected through our academic partnerships; however, we do accept a limited number of students through our competitive application process. If you have not been nominated or selected but are interested in taking advantage of the life-changing opportunities that the program provides, we encourage you to submit an application today.

  • What is included in tuition?

    Your tuition for the Urban Sustainability Academy includes housing at Rice University, on-site meals, supervisory personnel, program materials, all program activities, site visits, a Certificate of Completion, and local transportation during the program.

    However, your transportation between home and Houston, TX is NOT included in tuition. While attending the program, you will only need money for off-site meals, souvenirs, snacks, and other incidentals.

  • How will I be supervised?

    Your safety and well-being during the program is our highest priority. The program is structured so that you will reside in a safe, controlled environment. You will be closely supervised by a professionally trained Envision team, including advisors who serve as educational facilitators and chaperones, security personnel, operations personnel and a program coordinator.

    For over 30 years, Envision has achieved a stellar record of safely and successfully enriching the lives of students, providing them with superb educational experiences and professional supervision. Other Envision safety measures include:

    • Greeting students at the designated airport upon their arrival, and providing shuttle service directly to the program site as well as providing shuttle service back to the airport on departure day*
    • Maintaining a student-to-staff ratio of 25 to 1
    • Requiring all students to attend all activities
    • Checking rooms nightly and ensuring that students remain in their rooms
    • Having night monitors in place to support students who may become ill or who have an emergency during the night
    • Equipping all team members with two-way communication devices

    * There is a $80 nonrefundable roundtrip fee for shuttle service or a $40 fee for one-way shuttle service.

  • Where will I stay?

    Instruction and housing for the Urban Sustainability Academy is provided on the campus of Rice University.

  • How many students share a room?

    Each room will house two to three students. You will have your own bed.

  • What is the code of conduct for this program?

    You are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct. You also must abide by and uphold all program rules. We expect you to conduct yourself as a mature and responsible leader who represents your school and community.

  • I am a student requiring specific accommodations. Can I still attend?

    Yes, we encourage you to enroll. Envision by WorldStrides believes in working with families to accommodate student needs and encourages the participation of students who feel prepared to meet the academic, social, physical, and emotional demands of the program environment. We may be able to provide appropriate auxiliary staff and services to assist students as needed if notified in advance. We encourage families, guardians, legal representatives, or educators to contact the Office of Admissions for more information and to discuss particular accommodations before applying for enrollment in the program.

  • Do I need to make my own transportation arrangements?

    Yes. Your tuition does not include transportation to and from Houston, TX. We recommend that you make necessary flight arrangements only AFTER you receive confirmation that you are officially enrolled.

    Shuttle service between the program location and the George H.W. Bush Airport is available on the first and last days of the program for a fee of $40 each way or $80 round-trip. Envision team members will be stationed in the airport to assist arriving students. Details about arrival windows and the airport shuttle service will be included in your personal web page after you enroll.

  • Can my parents attend the program?
    No. Your parents or guardians are not allowed to accompany you during the program. Gaining independence, including experiencing new things on your own, is an essential part of your growth during the program. However, it is perfectly fine for your family to travel with you to the program location and stay in the area while you are attending the program.
  • Can special dietary needs be met?

    We make every effort to meet the dietary needs of all our students, provided the request is submitted prior to the start of the conference. When you complete the Student Information Form, you will have the opportunity to make special dietary requests.