Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 52.81
Liaison Chad King
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Denver
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Chad King
Sustainability Coordinator
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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:

The University of Denver has several formal partnerships with the local community, including school districts, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or other entities, to work together to advance social, economic, and environmental sustainability within the community. There are too many to enumerate here, examples include:

Commitment to social sustainability through community service and social justice are the foundation of our Graduate School of Social Work. GSSW is the only graduate social work program in the nation founded by a community coalition that later became the United Way and a chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Nearly 80 years later, with outreach efforts that span the globe, GSSW exemplifies the University of Denver's vision: to be a great private university dedicated to the public good. through outreach programs such as the Bridge Project. The Bridge Project strives to help children and youth living in Denver's public housing neighborhoods to achieve their academic potential and graduate from high school with the resources necessary to succeed as adults.

Through the work of faculty member Megan Kelly, the university partners with the nonprofit Denver Urban Gardens (DUG). This ongoing partnership works to increase undergraduate student engagement in the campus-community gardens at the university including the Bridge Community Garden and the Campus Permaculture Garden. Through this partnership a new student organization was formed in spring 2012, DU Students for Sustainable Food (https://www.facebook.com/studentsforsustainablefood). The organization focuses on issues of food literacy and food justice . As the mission for this organization states: “Students for Sustainable Food is a committed group of University of Denver students working to bring local, organic, and real food to DU's campus. SSF is about promoting food justice and sustainability in the DU and greater Denver community.” SSF is a participant in the Real Food Challenge. Megan Kelly is also s Denver Urban Garden’s Master Community Gardener. In this role, she represents the DU Bridge Community Garden as she teaches workshops on community gardening to interested community members, such as MetroCaring (a Hunger Relief Organization in Denver).

Bike programming has also advanced on campus through a partnership with The Bike Depot. in this relationship, Bike Depot staff offered classes on campus for a fee, and helped support the launch of a student run bike share and bike shop. The University provided The Bike Depot with advertisements and bikes for earn a bike and bike give aways offered through The Bike Depot.

The University of Denver's long standing partnerships with the non-profit Transportation Solutions have been key in advancing efforts for improved alternative transportation options, education, and .d

Our outreach programs through University College, while focus on broader topics, including the arts, also address issues of social, economic, and environmental sustainability through partnerships with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the non-profit Active Minds, and the Denver Botanic Gardens.

The Women's College at the University of Denver embraces diversity, recognizing the value and meaning different perspectives and worldviews bring to both higher education and our communities at large. TWC partners with local community organizations and private businesses to collaborate on advancing our world one woman at a time. TWC partnerships that address issues of social sustainability include the Local Education Adult Resource Network (LEARN), Project Education Sudan, and the Women's Global Empowerment Fund.

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):

The Adoption Competent Certification Program is the result of a collaborative effort between the University of Denver, Butler Institute for Families, The Adoption Exchange, Aurora Mental Health and the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Over the past several decades, the Morgridge College of Education has forged community partnerships with numerous organizations to strengthen our connection to the people around us, addressing issues of social sustainability throughout our community. These include partnerships with the Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado, the Boettcher Teachers Program, the Buell Early Childhood Leadership Program, the Colorado Community Based Research Network, the Counseling and Educational Services Clinic, the Denver Teacher Residency Program, Highline Academy (a K-8 Denver public school), the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, the Principal Preparation District Partnership Programs, and the Ritchie Program for School Leaders.

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

The Graduate School of Social Work has ongoing sustainability partnership around the world, including:

Beginning in 1994, a partnership with Beijing's China Youth University for the Political Sciences (CYUP) helped build the social work profession in China via faculty and student exchanges and joint research projects. In recent years, GSSW has partnered with Sichuan University in Chengdu to promote education about, and interest in, the field of social work.
The Sichuan University collaboration allows MSW students to complete conservation social work internships at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. If you are selected for one of these internships, you'll teach English-speaking visitors and groups of Chinese children how population growth and human consumption patterns contribute to the habitat loss that threatens the panda's existence. In the process, you'll gain firsthand knowledge of the environmental and social challenges facing China and, ultimately, the world.

Under the supervision of Sarah Bexell, Director of Conservation Education and Communications at the Chengdu Research Base, these GSSW internships focus on "one health," a concept that encourages social workers to draw upon the natural and environmental sciences as they attempt to understand the issues facing human society.

Since 2010, GSSW has offered a course entitled "Social Work in Kenya: Context, Empowerment, and Sustainability." The course, developed in collaboration with the African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW), introduces MSW students to the social, cultural, historical, political, economic, ecological and environmental issues facing Kenya and East Africa. The class meets on campus for four sessions before traveling to various locations in Kenya.

This physically and emotionally demanding course is field-based with strong emphasis on service learning and direct experiences. In addition to removing snares used to trap endangered animals hunted for the bushmeat trade, GSSW students work with communities to promote conservation and animal welfare.

For example, they helped introduce community-building solutions like a high-compression brick-making machines that offer people an environmentally sustainable livelihood.

Students also have become friends, advisors and customers of a cultural center established within Kenya's Watha community to generate income from ecotourism. Here, community members demonstrate and preserve a wide range of cultural practices, native dances and basket-weaving skills that provide environmentally friendly sources of income.

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

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.