Thursday, October 10, 2013

Each work day brings a variety of projects to Washington’s Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Peiffer and Debbie Stanton, director of the Washington Public Library.

This fall will be no exception.

The University of Iowa's Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) and the community of Washington have launched a partnership focusing on key projects for the city’s long-term sustainability.

UI graduate and undergraduate students in art, business, engineering, and library science will work under the direction of UI faculty, the Washington Public Library, the Washington Chamber of Commerce and the City of Washington. The collaborative projects will address cultural, social, environmental, and educational (literacy) priorities in Washington.

The joint effort with Washington is one of three community partnerships IISC initiated for the 2013-14 academic year after a thorough selection process examining cross-sector collaborative efforts toward sustainability and other community-wide improvements.

Projects on the Plate

UI senior undergraduate students in the Tippie College of Business’ Marketing Institute will conduct market research, resulting in a branding campaign for the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

“The partnership with IISC will help us analyze our community and bring in fresh perspectives in ways that will connect our story to those within and outside our community,” says Peiffer. “The partnership we're developing will bring tools and resources to Washington that will have a positive impact within our local economy and outreach.”

Graduate students in the School of Library and Information Science are focusing on family resources at the Washington Public Library. Nonfiction resources for youth and materials for children will be made more searchable and accessible to library patrons. The students will also create a parenting collection.

Benefits for the Washington Community

According to Stanton, the Washington Public Library is already benefiting from its partnership with the IISC. “The graduate students and faculty at the University of Iowa have offered us new ideas and perspectives, educated advice, skilled assistance, and renewed energy in our many varied projects.”

Such efforts are not new for the Washington community. Working over a number of years on sustainability projects, Washington has been proactive in investing resources in long-term plans.

“Working with the IISC is a reward for all of the work we have done for ourselves over the last six-plus years,” says Stanton. “IISC chooses to work with cities and organizations that are already working to better their communities.”

The Washington Chamber of Commerce anticipates the IISC projects will result in fresh perspectives to assist the community with its long-term commitment to sustainability.

“The partnership we're developing will bring tools and resources to Washington that will have a positive impact within our local economy and outreach,” says Peiffer.

Additional projects in Washington include a mural painting on the back of the library building, a concert series, and a new park on the north side of the city.

For more about IISC past projects in other Iowa towns and cities—including Anamosa, Burlington, Charles City, Columbus Junction, Decorah, Dubuque, Oskaloosa, and Wellman—visit the IISC website.