Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.66
Liaison Michael Kensler
Submission Date Jan. 23, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Auburn University
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jennifer Morse
Administrator: Outreach and Communications
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Alabama Water Watch

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus?:
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Not Sure

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above:

Alabama Water Watch Program (AWW) is a citizen volunteer, water quality monitoring program covering all of the major river basins of Alabama. The mission of AWW is to improve both water quality and water policy through citizen monitoring and action. Since 1992, AWW has been educating citizens of all backgrounds about the water environment, water pollution, and watershed stewardship and teaching them to conduct water chemistry analysis, bacteriological monitoring, and stream biomonitoring. As a result, AWW has certified thousands of citizens as volunteer water monitors who have in turn submitted nearly 90,000 water data records from over 2,300 different sites to the AWW database. AWW uses EPA-approved quality assurance plans for water chemistry and bacteriological monitoring. Citizens have utilized their data to bring about positive changes in their communities by influencing water policy, implementing watershed management plans, and educating others, young and old alike. AWW has a youth-focused partnership program, 4-H Alabama Water Watch that prepares educators to teach students about water monitoring and stewardship. AWW is part of the Auburn University Water Resources Center and receives support from the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and external funders. AWW is also part of the international water monitoring network, Global Water Watch. An important component of AWW is the Alabama Water Watch Association (AWWA), which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with and supports the work of the AWW program to engage citizens and communities. AWWA membership is made up of volunteer monitors and other citizens who want to support the efforts of AWW. The AWWA Board of Directors is comprised of volunteer monitors, trainers, educators, water quality advocates and Auburn University employees who devote personal time to the organization. Alabama has over 132,000 miles of streams and rivers. Between 8-10% of the freshwater flowing in the lower 48 states flows through the rivers of Alabama. In addition, Alabama has the highest level of freshwater biodiversity in the entire U.S. Take a look at Alabama’s state seal and you will see how important the rivers of the state have historically been seen by the people of Alabama. Quality of life, public health, recreational activities and recreation-based economic activities are all dependent on clean water. Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is drastically underfunded and the citizen monitors in partnership with AWW provide an essential service in closing the broad gap of monitoring that a state agency would otherwise provide. AWW partners with other water-related organizations to utilize data and knowledge of watersheds to promote a comprehensive, science-based watershed management system for the state. For more information: www.alabamawaterwatch.org.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Hunger Solutions Institute

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (2nd partnership) (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (2nd partnership):

The Hunger Solutions Institute was established by the College of Human Sciences and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station in February 2012 in an effort to further Auburn’s internationally recognized efforts around food security domestically and globally. The Institute works by emphasizing sustainable human health and well-being, connecting knowledge with practice, empowering communities, and creating knowledge coalitions representing all academic disciplines and partnering with the public and private sectors. ECHA was the first outreach initiative of the HSI addressing the critical issue of child food insecurity that affects approximately 300,000 of Alabama’s youngest citizens (i.e., 1:4). Other main HSI outreach initiatives include: (a) Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH), a global student movement that has mobilized thousands of young men and women in the fight against hunger since its inception in 2006. This year (2018) UFWH is holding its 13th annual UFWH Summit at the University of Illinois@Champaign-Urbana, and in 2019, this event will be co-hosted by the University of Maine, University of Southern Maine, and Campus Compact; and (b) Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), a coalition of more than 100 university presidents/chancellors from around the world who have agreed to make food and nutrition security a top campus priority and are willing to work collaboratively on finding solutions to this vexing, yet solvable, global scourge. https://wp.auburn.edu/hsi/

Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) is the founding partner and provides executive leadership for End Child Hunger in Alabama (ECHA), a coalition of key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, including the Office of the Governor; multiple cabinet offices and state agencies (e.g., State Department of Education, Department of Human Resources, Department of Agriculture and Industries; Department of Health; Office of Minority Affairs); Alabama Food Bank Association; The Alabama Cooperative Extension System; The Dairy Alliance; VOICES for Alabama’s Children; and Alabama Farmers Federation, among other agencies and organizations, devoted to ensuring the food and nutrition security of Alabama’s children and youth.

Financial support is provided by the HSI for the managing director to devote .25 FTE time to chair the ECHA task force and oversee the secretariat. She is supported by the HSI Communications Coordinator who assists with all social media outreach and other marketing activities. HSI also provides the financial support to cover luncheon expenses for members attending ECHA’s quarterly meetings, as well as marketing materials such as banners, etc. that raise awareness and promote advocacy.

Multi-year—ECHA was founded in 2012 and officially launched in 2013 by Alabama Lt. Governor Kay Ivey (now the state’s governor); Key focus areas include: summer feeding; breakfast in the classroom; community eligibility; healthy food financing; and obesity intervention and prevention.

The partnership between HSI/ECHA supports all three dimensions of sustainability with the following goals: Social equity and wellbeing—(a) improve food assistance safety net for Alabama’s children; (b) support community action to enhance children’s health and prevent obesity; and (c) build public will to end childhood hunger; Economic wellbeing—increase Alabama families’ economic stability; Ecological health—Cultivate a strong regional food system.

The ECHA coalition is a multi-sector and racially-diverse group of stakeholders representing underserved and vulnerable populations. Strategic priorities/decisions are based on the members’ input reflecting the needs of the various constituencies whom they represent (e.g., Children’s Policy Council; Alabama Food Bank Association; Family Child Care Partnership; Jones Valley Teaching Farm)


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
OGrows

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (3rd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (3rd partnership) (Yes, No, or Unknown):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (3rd partnership):

The O Grows project is a community garden outreach project in the Opelika community near Auburn. There are partnerships among the university, local P-12 schools, and other community organizations. The project is built around equity and food security issues. Last year it donated 7400 pounds of food to the local food bank. In addition, the outreach grant they wrote provides summer jobs to students from the alternative school, Opelika Learning Center. This school has a high dropout rate, and the partnership is focused on helping students build skills. The project catalyzes community resiliency and local/regional sustainability by simultaneously supporting social equity and wellbeing (e.g, access to nutritious food and shared land on which to grow it), economic prosperity (e.g., employment opportunities, entrepreneurial efforts, and a regional farmers market), and ecological health on a community or regional scale (e.g., “transition” projects and partnerships focused on community adaptation to climate change, composting efforts). It proposes or plans for institutionalized and systemic change and the partnerships are multiyear with no plans to end any time soon. The commitment of the institution is in providing faculty/staff and financial or material support. The University has supported the O Grows partnership by allowing four different faculty to invest some of their time working on the partnership, the College of Education’s Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology (EFLT) Department pays two Teachers Assistants a half-time position, and the EFLT Department Head gave $25,000 in the 2016-2017 academic year toward the projects, the Office of Outreach gave $10,000 in the 2016 – 2017 academic year. The project is a past recipient of two Auburn University Competitive Outreach Scholarship Grants ($16,456 in the 2014-2015 funding cycle and $21,500 in the 2015-2016 funding cycle). The partnership has adopted a stakeholder engagement framework through which community members, vulnerable populations, faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders are engaged in program/project development, from agenda setting and planning to decision-making, implementation and review. For more information visit http://www.education.auburn.edu/initiatives/opelika-grows/.


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

East Alabama Recycling Partnership (EARP) is an ongoing partnership that supports at least two dimensions of sustainability (economic prosperity and ecological health) whose vision is a comprehensive and coordinated regional recycling program to maximize diversion of municipal solid waste from the landfill, collecting greater quantities of recyclables and improving efficiencies by which the materials are processed and delivered. The target area is all residents and businesses located within Lee County. Planning and working together, EARP members (Lee County, cities of Opelika and Auburn, Auburn University) have enhanced their recycling programs, seeking to increase recycling participation, reduce operational costs and more effectively market recycled materials. The Partnership is committed to promoting recycling through outreach and education. The sharing of ideas and resources provides a strong foundation for the region’s recycling programs. Auburn University’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Department supports the Partnership with time and labor of department staff and event volunteers. An additional partnership is the group that has formed to implement the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment Project which will evaluate the City of Auburn's green assets and manage them to ecological, economic, and cultural returns. This project is a collaboration between with the City of Auburn, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Green Infrastructure Center, and the university.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The EARP description was provided by AU Waste Reduction and Recycling Department, AWW description by Mona Dominguez, HSI description by Harriet Giles, and O Grows submitted by Carey Andrzejewski, a graduate student of Dr. Sean Forbes.

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