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As UT moves toward establishing a service-learning program called the Smart Communities Initiative, the campus community is invited to learn more about a similar, and very successful, program operating in Oregon.

Representatives from the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative will be on campus Monday, December 9, to discuss their cross-disciplinary Sustainable City Year Program with faculty, staff, students, and members of the public sector.

The Sustainable City Year Program partners teaching faculty with city staff to engage students in service-learning projects focused on sustainability, livability, and improved quality of life in their communities.

“We are looking at establishing a similar program that we’ll call the UT Smart Communities Initiative,” said Kelly Ellenburg, campus coordinator for service-learning. “It would partner faculty and students with cities, counties, special districts, and other municipal groups to engage in real-world problem solving aimed at improving the region’s economy, environmental sustainability, and social integrity.

“This visit from the Sustainable Cities Initiative will give us a chance to learn more about the ‘Oregon model,’ that’s been replicated at ten other universities so far,” Ellenburg said.

The University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative presentations will be held in the Black Cultural Center, Room 94. There are three parts:

  • 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.—Faculty lunch discussion with introductory remarks from Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic affairs. An interactive discussion will take place with Oregon Sustainable City Year Program co-founders and partner city Springfield staff, who will present an overview of the program, discuss the benefits and challenges of this type of university-city partnership, and share their thoughts on why it works for both. Lunch will be provided, and all faculty are invited to attend. RSVP to
  • 2:00-3:30 p.m.—Presentation and panel session for the university and public visitors with introductory remarks from Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Susan Martin. Sustainable City Year Program and Springfield visitors talk about the factors that led them to create the program, how the program works, and variations on the model that other universities have used. Visitor parking will be available in the Vol Hall garage, and parking validation will be issued at the door.
  • 3:30-5:00 p.m.—Breakout discussion. Faculty, administrators, and public-sector staff can get advice from the Oregon visitors and discuss how they might participate with the UT Smart Communities.

The event is being sponsored by Plan East Tennessee, UT Service-Learning, and the Office of the Provost, and is funded by Plan East Tennessee through a federal grant.

For more information about UT’s Smart Communities Initiative, visit the Office of the Provost.

C O N T A C T :

Kelly Ellenburg (865-974-9577,