Overall Rating Bronze
Overall Score 36.72
Liaison Lindsey Abernathy
Submission Date July 17, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Mississippi
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Lindsey Abernathy
Associate Director
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
M Partner

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:

M Partner is a multi-year community partnership that seeks to improve the quality of life in Mississippi communities, launched in March 2018 through a series of public launch events. The program is outlined in the University of Mississippi’s strategic plan, Flagship Forward. UM provides a significant project budget and financially supports M Partner staff.

The partnership itself is focusing its work in the Mississippi cities of Charleston, New Albany and Lexington. M Partner is a 24-month pilot program, though this could be extended.

M Partner projects encompass all three dimensions of sustainability, ranging from providing meals to low-income students when school is not in session; engaging young people to prevent diabetes and obesity; revitalizing libraries and neighborhoods; community clean ups; and expanding a local farmers market.

Community decision making is a core component of M Partner, and all projects have identified community partners to guide the projects, identify priorities and act as champions. The project list in each community was finalized after two meetings in each community comprised of community leaders and elected officials as well as individuals specifically invited to represent diverse audiences.

The initiative aims to create substantial and sustainable results that will be viable in the community for decades to come and enhance the educational experiences of students and research and engagement programs of the university. M Partner offers sub granting opportunities to support faculty, staff and students as they work on project deliverables.

Projects in Lexington, where the median income is $26,083, include expansion of the city’s farmers market; identifying practices to ensure grade-level reading by third grade; improving the city’s park space to better manage drainage so the park can expand to include a playground and other amenities; financial education workshops; and neighborhood revitalization.

Projects in Charleston, a Mississippi Delta community in which revitalization efforts are underway, include working to support the implementation of a Complete Streets policy; establishing a Summer Food Service Program to provide meals to low-income students when school is not in session; revitalizing the local library; and assisting in expanding telemedicine to the area’s health facilities, and area in which the University of Mississippi Medical Center is considered a national leader.

Projects in New Albany include clean-up days, landscaping and beautification; pursuance of a Tree City USA Designation; better promotion and marketing of parks and recreation offerings; establishing a framework for a Leadership New Albany program; and revitalizing the public library.
http://mpartner.olemiss.edu/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Drinking Water and Lead Contamination in Mississippi Communities

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):

Researchers at the University of Mississippi continue to play an important role in analyzing lead concentrations in drinking water in Mississippi communities and raising awareness of the contribution of lead pipes and water treatment to lead poisoning through community-based research, education and outreach.
According to the National Sea Grant Law Center’s website, as of April 2017 in the Mississippi Delta, the project team had "partnered with seven community programs to test lead concentrations in drinking water from 170 homes. Participants at each collection event completed a household survey to gather socio-economic data and learn proper water sample collection techniques. Samples from the participants’ kitchen faucets were returned a week later and analyzed in UM laboratory facilities. Participants are notified by mail of the sampling results and provided with water filters if lead concentrations exceed 5 ppb. The team has also given presentations and tours of laboratory facilities to high school students interested in health careers." Community partners included the Tri-County Workforce Alliance, the Mississippi State Extension Service, Delta Directions, the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center and the Delta Health Center. Initial financial support was provided by the University of Mississippi through an Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Investment Grant.
In November 2018, UM’s Community Wellbeing Constellation awarded a seed grant to the team to support the efforts of the Jackson Water Coalition to improve water quality and infrastructure in Jackson. The project team is working on an information briefing for the coalition that provides an overview of the connections between water quality and health and infrastructure challenges. The team also is partnering with the coalition and other stakeholders to organize a series of drinking water and water body sampling events.

The project team includes or has included representatives from UM's National Sea Grant Law Center, the School of Pharmacy, the Center for Population Studies and the School of Engineering.
http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/projects/lead-contamination/index.html
http://flagshipconstellations.olemiss.edu/community-wellbeing/projects/


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
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Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
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Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
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Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (3rd partnership):
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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):
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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):
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A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:
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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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