Finding practical solutions to community-based challenges is at the heart of a new three-year partnership between Green County and the UniverCity Year program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that will kick off Aug. 21 with a gala event at the Monroe High School Performing Arts Center.
Developed with the Wisconsin Idea in mind, UniverCity Year brings together faculty, students and members of Wisconsin communities to address local challenges through engagement, university research and state-of-the-art technology. In Green County, participants will work together to reexamine long-standing practices, ask tough questions, engage residents and ignite sustainable growth through 23 community-based projects, from assessing quality food and transportation to developing farm cooperatives and ATV trails.
“Green County makes a great partner because we’re getting to take the model on the road. They are a mix between an urban and a rural county, which allows our faculty and staff an opportunity to work on unique issues,” said Gavin Luter, director of the UniverCity Alliance and the UniverCity Year program.
During the upcoming academic year, UW-Madison faculty will be matched with a community project that fits their expertise and teaching focus. Throughout the year, professors will incorporate the selected project goals into their courses, working with students and community members to develop a plan of action, which will be implemented beginning in late 2019. The partnership will continue through 2020.
“Throughout the partnership, UniverCity Year staff will provide administrative support to help keep the collaboration running efficiently and effectively,” says Luter. “The result is on-the-ground impact and momentum for a community working toward a more sustainable and livable future. Green County has welcomed us with open arms and I’m very excited about all the possibilities for joint work.”
Green County is the third Wisconsin community to participate in UniverCity Year, joining the city of Monona and Dane County. Successful projects completed or underway addressed housing, solar energy and community health, among other topics. Green County leaders hope to share in that success as they build on their rich agricultural history, strong community-based businesses and small-town atmosphere.
“We know our communities will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to assist UW-Madison students with their Green County projects,” says Cara Carper, executive director of the Green County Development Corporation. “We look forward to providing them with background information, helping them find their way in our communities, telling them the best places to eat or even buying them a piece of pie! We are also excited about the opportunity to work with professors in many different areas, including Family Medicine, Journalism and Mass Communication, Planning and Landscape Architecture, Population Health Sciences, and Real Estate and Urban Land Economics.”
To read more on the recent partnership between Green County and UniverCity Year program, check out the article written by Rebekah McBride here.