The Richmond Sustainable Communities Initiative is a multi-year partnership between Earlham College and the City of Richmond. RSCI is a unique way to connect courses at Earlham to city-identified sustainability research projects in the community with benefits for the City and the College. The Sustainability Office and the Center for Integrated Learning work with interested city departments and courses at Earlham to match projects with an eye towards innovation and sustainability.
Background on the model
The Richmond Sustainable Communities Initiative is modeled after the Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon, which is now in its fifth year. This unique way of building partnerships between colleges and cities to explore sustainability is spreading to programs nation-wide. Earlham faculty members were introduced to the model at a spring 2013 workshop on the Oregon program.
Collaboratively engaged learning benefits communities and students
Students in many disciplines generate scores of implementable ideas of benefit to the city, sparking city-wide conversations about what can be possible on a wide range of issues. Students can bring new energy and lots of dedicated time to frequently over-worked city staff and can propose ideas that politicians often can’t. Students actively engage with citizens and can bring new voices to the table for city governance.
What do we mean by Sustainable Communities?
The Richmond Sustainable Communities Initiative views sustainability in its most broad sense. We look at projects having to do with quality of life, community pride, smart use of resources, participation in city governance, and improved community spaces for attracting and retaining engaged, happy citizens.
The program encourages a wide perspective on sustainability in imagining potential projects and can include everything from public art planning to civic engagement techniques, bicycle transportation planning to municipal code recommendations to volunteer engagement plans.
Read about past Richmond Sustainable Communities Initiative Projects:
Richmond Farmer's Market: Recommendations for Revitalization
Download full report
City of Richmond Strategic Social Media Planning
Download executive summary
Sanitation Department Water Quality Analysis
Download summary of findings