Our Mission

Pivotal Places serves as a platform where university students coordinate integrated research and development initiatives that promote sustainable and resilient communities.  

Through strategic partnerships, we co-create innovative solutions to complex socio-economic and ecological challenges.

We focus on areas where there is tension between needs of the people, conservation goals, and urban development; where our efforts can have the greatest positive influence on human and environmental health.

Pivotal Places stands to be a unique approach to conservation and community resilience, weaving study abroad, innovative research, and actionable change into a single organization.

Built upon over 20 years of research in the region and our summer in South Africa, our team has created this community-based organization to help aid in the development of solutions to complex challenges.

The process to create this organization was collaborative and took many iterative steps. But as a result of the hard work of 17 study abroad students for the past year, Pivotal Places and its innovative model were created.


“South Africa is regularly portrayed as helpless and in need, but my experience showed strength, persistence and desire to make a change in their community, they just need a little more help to do so!”

– Sabrina Romeo

2018 Program Participant