Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.76
Liaison Richard Johnson
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Rice University
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Nimi Oyeleye
Summer Intern
Administrative Center for Sustainability and Energy Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Community Bridges Program

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):
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:

http://kinder.rice.edu/bridges/
Rice University sponsors Community Bridges, a service-learning and collaborative program that aims to strengthen the relationship between Rice University and the Fifth Ward of Houston. Community Bridges allows Rice students to work at a variety of non-profit organizations including The Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Center (CRC) and The Fifth Ward Enrichment Program. Through these organizations, students are able to learn about urban issues through an in-depth seminar and semester-long internship experience.
The Fifth Ward is home to over 26,000 people. In 2011, the median annual household income for a Fifth Ward resident was just $14,198, and the dropout rate of incoming high school freshman was nearly 40%. Ironically in the very same year, a high school in the neighboring area, Lamar High School, was ranked as one of the top high schools in the United States. Thus, Community Bridges, founded in 2011, aims to strengthen the relationship between Rice University and the Fifth Ward by supporting students who seek to develop and implement long-term projects focused on the sustainable reduction of poverty.

Specifically, the Fifth Ward CRC is a catalytic organization dedicated to the collaborative fostering of holistic community development which seeks to sustain and build the Fifth Ward as a beautiful and better place to live, work, and play. The Fifth Ward Enrichment Program is a youth leadership and development program for at-risk males which aims to engage high-risk minority youth in a positive and educational after-school environment. Students can choose to participate in one of these non-profit organizations by registering for a one-semester internship through Community Bridges that allows them the opportunity to explore a community outside of the Rice campus, meet new people, engage in challenging and meaningful work, and attempt to rectify complex urban challenges that face people in the Fifth Ward every day.
In past years, students who spent a semester working at Fifth Ward non-profit organizations completed projects ranging from installing public art projects in the Fifth Ward and planning NBA sponsored redevelopment days, to organizing curriculum for an after-school program and assisting in asset development and financial training for residents of the Fifth Ward who earn less than $15,000 per year.

Another organization that the Community Bridges program partners with is Buffalo Bayou Partnership, which tries to balancing conservation and development and creating projects that serve multiple purposes - recreation, flood management and ecosystem restoration.

The full list of partners, which covers all the sustainability areas (social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health), can be found at: https://kinder.rice.edu/communitypartners/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Houston Sustainability Indicators Program

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 supports at least one, but not all three, dimensions of sustainability

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):
No

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):

https://shellcenter.rice.edu/content.aspx?id=390
The Houston Sustainability Indicators program (HSI) was developed by Rice’s Shell Center for Sustainability to assist with the characterization of sustainable development in Houston. The need for sustainable development indicators was first identified in 2004, when the Shell Center held the Houston Sustainability Scenarios Project, which brought together 70 individuals representing Houston’s government, NGO’s, business, and academic community to build scenarios for Houston. Thus, from the beginning, the initiative was intended to involve collaboration between the entire city of Houston in order to catalyze community resiliency and regional sustainability. The aim of the program was to identify needed research to define a sustainable development baseline and to measure the progress of the city. In 2009, the Shell Center for Sustainability issued a call for proposals to develop a plan that identified sustainable indicators for the Houston region. In 2010, the project was introduced in a Rice University course, Sustainable Design, where the students compiled a report with 25 proposed measures focused on sustainable development through the economic, environmental and social lens. 24 proposed indicators were chosen, ranging from population growth and the unemployment rate to median household income and air quality, and data were then collected for the years 1990, 2000, and 2010. This allowed projections to be calculated for the years 2015, 2020, 2030, and 2040. Subsequent reports were compiled which presented data and discussed the issues of importance to the sustainable development of Houston as well as proposed measures to enhance the city’s sustainability. In essence, the program is expected to continue identifying policies and programs to assist in enhancing Houston’s sustainable development. The 2015 report - the fifth annual report published for this initiative - focuses on development patterns within Houston, and includes issues such as gentrification and racial segregation within areas in the city. It also discusses the varying levels of affordability and quality of life in the Houston area.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Rice Engineering Without Borders

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 supports at least one, but not all three, dimensions of sustainability

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):
No

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):

http://ewb.rice.edu/
The Rice University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a student-run organization that partners with communities in developing countries to design and implement sustainable and culturally appropriate engineering solutions to meet their basic needs.

Current projects at Rice University include the constructing a 6.8km long gravity-fed water distribution system to deliver potable water from a mountain spring to four nearby communities in El Salvador, designing a water distribution system to service 1,200 people in the community of Sadrach Zeledon in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and implementing a water distribution system to eliminate the need to cross the highway to access water in the community of Wiscoyol in Nicaragua. Past Rice University projects also include the construction of health clinics and pedestrian bridges. Throughout these projects, students form strong intercultural relationships and become socially and environmentally conscious engineers with outstanding leadership skills and practical, hands-on experience.


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

Other notable community partnerships at Rice University include the Hermann Park Conservancy, Project Row Houses, Texas Adopt-A-Beach, Bike Houston, Transition Houston, Houston Tomorrow, Houston US Green Building Council Emerging Professionals, Houston Green Scene, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Hope Clinic Community Health Center, Surfrider Foundation, Urban Harvest, and Rice Wildlife Conservation Corps


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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