, 2023-03-26 22:04:26,
Students from various disciplines are taking their ideas for change outside of Iowa City through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities.
The University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities program, or IISC, will bring more than 20 student-led projects to the City of Clinton by the end of the academic year.
The program allows students from a range of disciplines to develop and share ideas to help advance a community’s goals. This year, the IISC partnered with the City of Clinton.
The initiative, which started in 2009, paved the way for UI students to work with Iowa to advance sustainability goals. The IISC has expanded and now collaborates with multiple departments across campus.
Every year, the IISC selects one community for a full partnership, collaborating on at least 15 projects in one area throughout the academic year — from August to May — while working on separate standalone projects in other locations.
After a community applies and is accepted for the full partnership, the initiative provides a list of potential collaboration opportunities for the approved community to choose from. Students work alongside their peers with guidance from university faculty while collaborating with clients to achieve their goals.
While this is the first time Clinton has had a full partnership with the initiative, the IISC previously completed projects in the city through its regional partnership with the East Central Intergovernmental Association from 2016-18.
City of Clinton City Administrator Matt Brooke said the city tried to fit in as many IISC projects that it could to keep progressing the city forward.
“All of which, if I tried to do with my staff or hire outside consultants, would take a lot longer, and frankly, we may not have had the same experience because we have this different crowd that’s not as familiar with Clinton coming in and sharing their thoughts and visions,” Brooke said.
IISC Director Travis Kraus said while communities may be receiving tangible help from the UI, students are able to gain experiences that will prepare them for their careers.
“It’s a way for higher education institutions to be a part of solutions to our greatest challenges,” Kraus said. “We are better preparing our future leaders when we give them real-world experiences that exist outside of the classroom or outside of a textbook.”
Over 100 students from more than five university departments — from Library and…
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