Sustainability through university-community partnerships

Sustainability through university-community partnerships

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Lunch lecture series looks at the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

February ends with the Public Digital Humanities for Lunch (PDH4L) series presenting a new area in its free, open and informal talks with a focus on civic engagement and sustainability.

Charles Connerly, director and professor of the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning, and Nicholas Benson will present the next installment of the PDH4L series in their talk, “Improving Iowa’s Sustainability Through University-Community Partnerships,” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 in 1117 University Capitol Center, Conference Room A.

The presentation will focus on the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), a UI campus-wide civic engagement initiative intended to enhance the sustainability of Iowa’s communities. According to Benson, who is the program coordinator for the IISC, “We work with communities to identify, design, and implement sustainability-focused projects, pairing UI graduate and upper-class undergraduate students with partners throughout those communities.”

The IISC has a multitude of departmental partners involved with its operations, including urban and regional planning, public health, journalism and mass communication, geoscience, library sciences, business, and marketing. Additional partners may include local governments, nonprofit organizations and even local businesses. More information on the IISC can be found at

The IISC has addressed a multitude of problems that affect local Iowa and Midwestern communities, such as declining employment opportunities in Midwestern manufacturing and agriculture, the decline of the small family farm, and many demographic changes that challenge communities to learn to accommodate these new differences.

Benson stated that the IISC was formed to address these problems and improve the communities facing them. “By working to help communities help themselves, the State of Iowa benefits economically, culturally, and environmentally, while transforming teaching, learning, and research at the University of Iowa.”

The PDH4L series is sponsored by the Digital Studio for Public Humanities (DSPH). All lectures are free and open to the public. Lunch is not provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own.

PDH4L talks throughout 2013 will focus on the nature and role of public digital humanities in contemporary culture. Over the course of this series, audiences will interact with prominent public digital humanities researchers and help shape the discussion of this rapidly rising field of study.


Kyle Moody, Digital Studio for Public Humanities, 513-593-9487


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