|Submission Date||July 24, 2015|
Virginia Commonwealth University
EN-9: Community Partnerships
Sustainability Reporting and Outreach Coordinator
Facilities Management - Office of Sustainability
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:
VCU is a member of Greater Virginia Green Building Council, Resilient Virginia, AASHE, ACUPCC, and USGBC. VCU Sustainability is on the VCU Council for Community Engagement and the City of Richmond Sustainability Advisory Plan.
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 Action Plan was founded on the principles of the 2013 Fairmount Community Health Plan, developed by VCU’s Urban and Regional Planning Department. East End residents face food insecurity and limited access to parks and public space, and to address these concerns, community members and organization leaders identified the following priorities. Their input guided the selection of the plan’s principles related to Health Eating, Active Living, and Critical Connections.
The Action Plan identifies clear steps toward these principles promoting the health and wellness of East End residents. The Civic Improvement Action Guide, Toolkits, and [first steps] establishes flexible timelines, steps, and strategies for change to guide long-term progress. Key partners in the planning process include public officials, community organization leaders, and residents who share its vision. It provides a road map for collaboration, community organizing, resource sharing, and project development based on the plan’s established priorities. Residents and local leaders have worked together to identify critical actions, organize project teams, and dedicate resources to its first steps.
It also provides guidance for residents who are interested in contributing to the Health Plan’s objectives. The Civic Improvement Action Guide’s Toolkits were created to assist participating residents as they lead their own low-impact community development projects. These offer needed information about navigating regulatory processes and accessing local resources. Many of these are based on tactical urbanism strategies that facilitate citizen-led change on the block, street, and building level.
The Action Plan documents the first neighborhood development project led by residents promoting safety, health, and well-being in Richmond’s East End. Participants worked to shape public use of the triangle park at 25th Street and Venable Street with the objective of transforming this central greenspace into a community destination. Organization partners included 7th District Councilperson Cynthia Newbille, the Youth Health Equity Leadership Program, Renew Richmond, and Groundworks RVA. Collaborators placed a strong emphasis on youth involvement in the process, and area students formed the staff that led community planning workshops and will implement the plan’s strategies.
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:
Implementation of the VCU Monroe Park Campus Learning Garden began the spring of 2015 as a project addressing food security in the Richmond community. The intention of this project is to serve as an educational resource in both theory and practice by using this high-output learning garden to provide fresh and nutritious food and teach sustainable growing practices. The Learning Garden received financial support from the VCU Office of Sustainability and was awarded a VCU Community Engagement Grant to work with a number of community partners, Center for High Blood Pressure being the primary partner. Through the partnership with CHBP, fresh produce will be donated to low-income individuals who lack access to healthy food as well as have access to healthy food preparation workshops. This project will continue to grow under the Community Garden Coordinator in the VCU Office of Sustainability and be primarily volunteer driven.
A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:
The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available: