Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.59
Liaison Richard Demerjian
Submission Date Aug. 11, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Irvine
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Carrie Metzgar
Sustainability and Planning Analyst
Campus Physical and Environmental Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
UCI Blum Center’s Division of Flooding and Poverty (FloodRISE and SedRISE Projects)

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?:
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? :
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability:

Through the study of displaced populations, disrupted economies, water-borne illnesses and the loss of ecosystem services and infrastructure caused by flooding, UC Blum Center Scholars are utilizing big-data to identify solutions to mitigate flood risk, foster peace and stability in flood-affected communities and empower citizens to action through widely-accessible information and leadership.

The UCI Blum Center’s Division of Flooding and Poverty supports the FloodRISE and SedRISE projects, where teams work with government agencies (e.g., City of San Diego, City of Imperial Beach, County of Orange) and civil society organizations (e.g., Surfrider Foundation, Orange County Coastkeeper, Newport Bay Conservancy) to co-develop sets of flood hazard visualizations that are responsive to local decision-making needs. The UCI Blum Center’s Division of Flooding and Poverty provides material support in the form of the co-produced models that are made available to support decision makers.

Under FloodRISE, an interdisciplinary research team works with stakeholders in three vulnerable communities affected by different types of flooding (coastal, fluvial, and pluvial) to co-develop sets of flood hazard visualizations that are responsive to local decision-making needs. Stakeholder engagement is iterative to the planning and implementation process, and involves meetings with authorities, household surveys, focus group meetings, and training sessions. The co-produced flood hazard maps are available via on-line flood hazard viewers.

The SedRISE project is funded by the NOAA Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program to support the co-development of modeling tools for coastal sediment management around coastal wetlands and embayments. Researchers from UCI and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) engaged a Management Translation Advisory Group (MTAG) of site-based, regional, state and federal stakeholders to deepen understanding of watershed-scale sediment dynamics and related challenges and opportunities associated with sea level rise, flood risk and coastal ecosystem management. MTAG meetings took place in June 2017 and 2018 and numerous site-specific and individual meetings occurred between 2019-2020.

View additional information about the community partnership and both projects here: https://blumcenter.uci.edu/flood/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
UCI Community Resilience Projects: Community-Driven Academic Partnerships

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):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (2nd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):

UCI Community Resilience Projects supports a number of community-driven academic partnerships through material and financial support in the Acjachemen and Tongva homelands now known as Orange County, California.

Since 2018, UCI Community Resilience Projects has focused on:
-- Collaborating with a youth-led investigation into lead soil levels and environmental concerns in Santa Ana, California, together with Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ) and Jovenes Cultivando Cambios (Youth Cultivating Change);
-- Collaborating with members of the CRECE Cooperativa, THRIVE Santa Ana, Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, and Cooperacion Santa Ana who are involved in leading development of community-driven economic models in Santa Ana, California, to co-create supporting curricula for Santa Ana residents as well as university students, faculty, and staff who seek to become involved in community-driven academic partnerships there;
-- Co-hosting the Orange County Health Equity COVID-19 Community-Academic Partnership;
-- Co-producing national legal educational support to low-income communities and communities of color that are in transition from extraction-based economies to regenerative economies; and
-- Supporting efforts to bring together UCI faculty, post-docs, and graduate student researchers who participate in engaged environmental justice research together with various communities throughout the region and world.

Highlight: Orange County Health Equity COVID-19 Community-Academic Partnership

In Summer 2020, the UCI Program in Public Health partnered with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and the Orange County Health Equity COVID-19 Community-Academic Partnership to develop a Health Equity Contact Tracing Workshop. Integrating community knowledge from Orange County health equity leaders about the impacts of the pandemic and pandemic mitigation strategies on low-income communities of color with established models of manual contact tracing and the latest knowledge about COVID-19 spread and mitigation, this Workshop was designed with a fundamental focus on health equity. The Health Equity Contact Tracing Workshop was developed to serve the wide range of community leaders and public health practitioners whose work is needed across the full spectrum of pandemic mitigation, elimination, and equitable recovery.

Community-based participants in the Community-Academic Partnership continue to lead direct service to and advocacy for Orange County’s disproportionately affected low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, building on the community mobilization that emerged during the Summer 2020 Health Equity Contact Tracing Workshop, participants in the Community-Academic Partnership shifted focus during Fall 2020 to support the incubation of a resident-led, worker-owned cooperative for community-driven COVID-19 response in the cities of Santa Ana and Anaheim. Partnership participants also shifted focus to co-designing and seeking resources to support additional community-identified health equity-focused training needs for pandemic response. During Winter 2021, Community-Academic Partnership participants heightened focus on increasing vaccine equity and addressing vaccine hesitancy here in Orange County. This partnership continues to be ongoing.

For more information, please visit: https://communityresilience.uci.edu/community-driven-academic-partnerships/


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

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? (3rd partnership):
Sustainability-focused

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners? (3rd partnership):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):

The Shadetree Partnership is a non-profit dedicated to growing and planting shade trees in the Orange County community through volunteer tree planting projects. Since 1996, UCI has hosted the Shadetree program campus, having planted more than 30,000 trees in the community through volunteer tree planting projects.

Trees planted through the program have multiple sustainability benefits to the communities served, including urban heat island mitigation and carbon sequestration. UCI provides material support for the program by providing land, utilities, operational support and other resources to the volunteer tree nursery and volunteer tree planting projects.

Volunteer planting projects have included multiple projects in underrepresented communities in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Projects undertaken in underrepresented communities involve key stakeholders in the planning, decision-making including the project design to meet key community needs, and implementation of each project. The volunteer-run on campus tree nursery hosts multiple outreach events each year engaging local students and youth programs in public service and education through propagating and caring for seedlings and trees.

UCI provides material and financial support for the Shadetree Partnership by providing the land at no financial cost for the nursery and operations. The campus also funds staff support to Shadetree and funds the costs of annual volunteer tree planting events.

For more information, please visit: http://shadetreepartnership.org/ and https://cpep.uci.edu/community/partnerships.php


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

CENTER FOR ECOSYSTEM CLIMATE SOLUTIONS (CECS) COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

UCI is part of – and directs – the Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions (CECS), which supports the state’s land management needs through data-driven science and technology. CECS consists of a team of nearly 50 scientists at 8 research institutions, with support from partners at state and federal agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector, all working together with the goal of developing thoroughly evaluated, open-source data products to inform and optimize land management decisions.

CECS has several established partnerships, with organizations including: 1) Blue Forest Conservation (https://www.blueforest.org/), 2) Spatial Informatics Group, in the form of the “Pyregence Consortium” (https://pyregence.org/), and 3) The Chronicles Group (http://www.beyondthebrink.global).

CECS provides support in the form of open-source geospatial datasets and management assessment tools to all partner organizations and will also open these resources to the public in the next several months. The nonprofit organization Blue Forest Conservation provides scientific input and feedback on CECS data and will utilize CECS-created tools to acquire funding support for large-scale forest restoration projects in California.

The Pyregence Consortium has been providing valuable scientific guidance and data sharing throughout the CECS project, and will utilize several of their geospatial data layers in their own online fire forecasting tools as well.

CECS is providing funding to support the production of two different films with the Chronicles Group: “Beyond the Brink: California’s Watersheds,” as well as the upcoming “California’s Watershed: Healing.” CECS researchers have been featured in these films, and our team’s connections across the state have proven valuable in helping the Chronicles Group secure additional partnerships.

For more information, please visit: https://california-ecosystem-climate.solutions/partners/

GLOBAL CONNECT

Global Connect is an original educational partnership developed by UCI's School of Social Sciences to enrich California's secondary school curriculum in international studies. This is accomplished by translating current university-level concepts and knowledge into a curriculum that is age appropriate for high school students. Global Connect dedicates its educational program and publications to addressing California's History/Social Studies Curriculum Framework and the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies. This is being accomplished through the creation of an original 2 semester (year-long) "Globalization and International Relations Course", implementation of the syllabus at select schools in Orange County, sponsorship of countywide teacher seminars, and development of new online curriculum options for secondary educators statewide and beyond. Classroom lessons are innovative in structure and not only teach students, but also serve as an ideal platform for analytical and reflective thinking about global issues.

One of the defining attributes of this collaboration has been the creation of a unique teaching bridge. University faculty and graduate students help introduce the key themes at the site schools. PowerPoint presentations are accessible for use by the host teachers. The site school host teachers have actively critiqued all parts of the curriculum and have helped define age-appropriate vocabulary, content, and pedagogy.

Top undergraduates serve as classroom academic interns on an on-going basis. They serve as teacher aids and assist in implementing workshops, supporting literacy exercises, and small group activities and projects. At the University, the students are enrolled in an educational field study course.

For more information, please visit: https://www.globalconnect.socsci.uci.edu/aboutus.php

WATER UCI’S MIDDLE SCHOOL CHALLENGE

Water UCI’s Middle School Challenge strives to build up a generation of students who are inspired to create their own imaginative solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges – water conservation. This program allows university students to gain valuable experience and increase their understanding of science topics through teaching, while at the same time providing an exceptional learning experience for primary and secondary school students who interact with college students to learn about current water issues.

With the help of UCI students, local public-school students learn the science behind the problem and then exercise the scientific method in determining a unique solution to the problem with their classmates. The students develop teamwork and communication skills while figuring out innovative ways to problem solve. UCI students complete a lecture at the secondary school, and they teach the students about the significance of water issues as well as the underlying scientific principles. They develop the lecture with the help of university scholars and develop public speaking skills.

Water UCI believes that science communication is a fundamental skill that all university graduates should possess. This program serves to strengthen that vital skill in participants, while enhancing learning for local secondary school students. In 2021, Water UCI’s Middle School Challenge asked students to focus on a current water issue, such as conservation or filtration. Students at Lakeside Middle School in Irvine and Community Roots Middle School in Laguna Niguel learned the science behind the problem and then, with the help of the scientific method, teamwork, and mentorship from UCI students, developed a unique solution. The winners of the challenge were honored with awards, goody bags and a Zoom pizza party: https://uppp.soceco.uci.edu/news/applauding-water-uci-middle-school-challenge-winners

For more information, please visit: https://water.uci.edu/designing-water-conservation-solutions-in-middle-schools/

UCI NEWKIRK CENTER FOR SCIENCE & SOCIETY: RESEARCH JUSTICE SHOP

The Research Justice Shop (RJS) strives to transform research practices to be more inclusive by facilitating equitable collaboration between the university and the communities most impacted by our collective social and environmental problems. The RJS supports 10 graduate fellows with community-based research and partnerships. Below, we have highlighted two partnerships. For more information about the Research Justice Shop, visit https://newkirkcenter.uci.edu/researchjustice/ and https://news.uci.edu/2021/07/01/research-solidarity-with-communities/

1) COMMUNITY AIR MONITORING: MADISON PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION & UCI COLLABORATIVE

Graduate students and faculty members have been supporting a local community-based organization (CBO) in a 3-year state-funded project focused on community-based air monitoring with the Madison Park Neighborhood of Santa Ana, California. The CBO and multidisciplinary UCI researchers meet quarterly as a collaborative that the graduate students coordinate and facilitate.

Specific activities include: 1) processing and synthesizing documentation, 2) designing evaluation measures and implementation plans, 3) data management, 4) generating reports and communication materials for various audiences (community members, academics, and funders, specifically regular grant reports for the funder, 5) responding to rapid research requests for best practices, policy analysis, and 6) working with the CBO staff.

Other tasks include facilitating CBO/ UCI Collaborative meetings specifically scheduling and attending meetings, creating and sharing agendas for upcoming collaborative meetings, participating and sharing meeting note-taking practice, summarizing notes into digestible and useful information, facilitating discussion among collaborative members as decided by the collaborative, and following up with members via one-on-one meetings.

For more information, please visit: https://newkirkcenter.uci.edu/2020-21-newkirk-fellows/

2) ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE WATER QUALITY PHOTOVOICE PROJECT

UCI supports process evaluation for a local Environmental Justice Organization’s PhotoVoice project. As part of the CBO’s Communities Organizing for Better Water campaign, Orange County residents will document water quality problems in their lives and in their communities. UCI graduate fellows will observe PhotoVoice workshops, develop evaluation tools and metrics in conversation with the organization’s staff, and write a report summarizing the findings. Fellows will also support the development of training tools to codify the PhotoVoice method as it is used by the organization so that they can systematize and potentially replicate its implementation around Orange County.

For more information, please visit: https://newkirkcenter.uci.edu/2020-21-newkirk-fellows/

UC CENTER FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE INITIATIVE

Center for Climate Justice is a system-wide initiative to address climate change as a social justice and equity issue. The center’s mission is “to leverage and harness the power of the university to support, strengthen and build an emergent climate justice ecosystem and social movement that solves the climate crisis through science, systems thinking and social-ecological justice. It does this through innovative broader-impact research, transformative education and public engagement.”

The UC Center for Climate Justice seeks not only to address the root causes of climate change, but also the broad range of associated social, racial and environmental injustices.

The center will bring together researchers, educators, non-governmental organizations, activists, policymakers, philanthropists, Indigenous community leaders and people from the private sector to fight for climate justice in California and beyond.

Looking forward, the center also aims to equip the next generation of climate justice leaders through innovative research, transformative education and public engagement. This is reflected in the six pillars of the center’s work: just transitions; Indigenous climate action; natural climate solutions; social, racial and environmental justice; community resilience and adaptation; and climate education, communication and engagement.

For more information, please visit: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/new-uc-center-climate-justice-launches and http://centerclimatejustice.universityofcalifornia.edu/


Website URL where information about the institution’s community partnerships to advance sustainability is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information in this credit was provided by:

-- UCI Blum Center: http://blumcenter.uci.edu/
-- UCI Community Resilience Projects: https://communityresilience.uci.edu/
-- Campus Physical and Environmental Planning: https://cpep.uci.edu/
-- Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions: https://california-ecosystem-climate.solutions/
-- UCI School of Social Sciences: https://www.socsci.uci.edu/
-- Water UCI: https://water.uci.edu/
-- UCI Newkirk Center for Science & Society: Research Justice Shop: https://newkirkcenter.uci.edu/researchjustice/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.