Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 56.76
Liaison Liz Davey
Submission Date Oct. 13, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Tulane University
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Amanda Buberger
Assistant Director, Center for Public Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

Tulane's Center for Public Service employs full-time staff to support partnerships among faculty, students, and community partners. Stakeholder groups include partners that have worked with the university for many years. New partnerships develop through word of mouth, as a result of Tulane member or student referral or contacts agencies out of shared interests and missions. Each partner completes a formal process including an orientation, signing an agreement, a site visit, and establishing an on-line profile. Tulane partnerships institutionalize systematic change in that they engage all undergraduates, hundreds of graduate students and a growing number of faculty and staff, which has led to a culture shift at Tulane and in the community.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

Developed out of a partnership with Tulane, Grow Dat Youth Farm’s mission is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. Grow Dat works collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents and to inspire youth to create change in their own communities. They do so by training local high school-aged youth in the field of urban agriculture through 13 paid internship positions and opportunities that teach high school students about nutrition and community health. Additionally, Grow Dat’s campus was designed and built with the support of Tulane's School of Architecture using reclaimed shipping containers as structural elements. The campus incorporates recycled products, storm water management, and other best practices that serve as an example of green design for the New Orleans community. In the past academic year, 75 service-learning students from Tulane contributed 375 hours of work to Grow Dat. Tulane supported one Americorps VISTA volunteer who worked there full time for one year before becoming a full-time employee. Tulane’s multifaceted involvement at Grow Dat demonstrates the university’s commitment to the organization. As the collaborative partnership continues to grow, Grow Dat informs professors about their needs and finding ways to align the organizations needs with those of university members. For example, Grow Dat has worked with students in business service-learning courses to implement team-building service activities. Grow Dat has demonstrated the ability to sustain collaboration over time by consistently getting involved in different programs at Tulane including workshops, trainings, meeting with professors, speaking to students in classes, or giving presentations to student organizations. Grow Dat does an amazing job of recognizing opportunities and being flexible enough to take advantage of them. This continued effort to, not only, sustain, but to expand, their collaborations with Tulane is what makes Grow Dat such a successful partner and powerful force in New Orleans. Furthermore, Grow Dat is always willing to offer and give feedback to professors, students, and administrators, which is crucial in a collaborative partnership. This feedback enables us to evaluate, adapt, and expand our impact. Grow Dat serves on the Tulane Center for Public Service’s Community Advisory Board.

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

A number of CPS partnerships are transformational in that they support economic prosperity, social equity and well-being, and ecological health through mutually beneficial experiential education. Since 2006, Tulane has developed transformative partnerships with 58 organizations with support of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The infrastructure and capacity created by Tulane's VISTA program allows organizations and communities to utilize the services provided by the general public, youth, high school, college students, and university professionals more effectively and creatively. VISTA members serve as liaisons between Tulane and the partner agencies, helping to create job descriptions, prepare training sessions and orientations, organize public service students in activities designed to reduce poverty, enhance civic engagement, and encourage economic sustainability. Community partners work with CPS to host an AmeriCorps VISTA member for 2-3 years in an effort to build that organization's capacity. The VISTA members also work on additional development projects as specified by the partner organizations and Tulane during their term of service. The program is now taking on a place-based cross-sector approach to addressing complex social problems. Programming to support this initiative has created new jobs, expanded and deepened community based programming including summer camps, and resulted in collaborative proposals for funding. Community Partners are involved in decision making from initial conversations throughout the long term partnerships. Many VISTA partner representatives serve on the Tulane Center for Public Service Community Advisory Board. http://tulane.edu/cps/community/vista/index.cfm
One current Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA partnership is particularly transformative.
Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, has partnered with Tulane since 2006. Additionally, over 225 Tulane students complete service learning or internships with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans each semester. This partnership has formed into a collaborative enterprise that has become one of Tulane’s most successful community affiliations, as Youth Rebuilding New Orleans continues to be an active participant in Tulane’s other initiative. In January the organization donated an entire week of service hours to Tulane’s Cowen Service challenge to honor President Scott Cowen. Not only is Youth Rebuilding New Orleans crucial to service learning at Tulane, but they also serve an important role in the greater New Orleans community. Youth Rebuilding New Orleans was founded by a Tulane graduate, and is completely organized and run by youth; all of their efforts are directed towards improving the lives of New Orleans’ young people. Youth Rebuilding New Orleans is truly sustainable, as the organization seeks to impact local housing issues by empowering New Orleans youth to better their community. Since its inception, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans has helped over 300 homeowners in the greater New Orleans area and currently employs over sixty teens. In 2010, the organization shifted to renovating homes that have been foreclosed and using youth volunteers to restore them to their original beauty. Additionally, volunteers refurbish homes and sell them to New Orleans teachers at 80 percent of their market value. Through these efforts, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans hopes to use the efforts of students to give back to New Orleans teachers. This unique initiative incorporates student leadership that fuses with a successful non-profit business model and results in sustainable outcomes for all parties involved.

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

Every other summer, students have the opportunity to study in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Ecuador: Tropical Field Biology and Conservation gives students the opportunity to apply the theory and knowledge they have acquired in the classroom to the real world. Students travel with Dr. Karubian and Dr. Duraes to Ecuador for a two-week intensive field course. While taking the course, students experience first-hand the challenges and rewards of conducting field research and implementing conservation activities in tropical environments. These activities take place within a context of community engagement based on active collaboration and interaction with Ecuadorian local residents in a variety of contexts. Students design and implement a ‘hands-on’ research project related to tropical ecology with instructor supervision. This research is conducted at two different sites in Ecuador: one on the western (Amazonian) slope of the Andes and one of the eastern (Pacific) slope. In addition, they visit a number of other natural areas more briefly, to provide students with some perspective on the diverse array of habitats found in the Tropics.
In addition to this engaged research experience, students are exposed to a number of conservation efforts. These include visits to sustainable coffee and cacao production; environmental education initiatives; small-scale agricultural projects designed to improve the nutrition of local residents; and eco-tourism ventures.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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