University of Oregon


Sustainable Cities Initiative

Sustainable City Year Program

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The RFP to be the 2015-2016 SCYP Partner is now open! 

Big Idea

Cities often lack the funds and knowledge to implement innovative sustainability projects. College students have professional-level training and a need for practical work. SCYP brings these two traditionally unrelated entities together in an exciting interdisciplinary partnership.  

What is it?

The Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) links the students of the University of Oregon with an Oregon city, county, special district, or partnership of governments for an entire academic year.

Each year, a partner city receives assistance with their sustainability goals through the work of student classes across the University. In a typical year, 400+ students from 10-12 disciplines across 20-30 classes might work on 15-20 partner-directed projects, devoting 40,000+ hours of work to helping a local entity transition to a more sustainable future.

Now in its sixth year, SCYP is enabling cities to reach their sustainability goals in an affordable manner while transforming higher education into an arena where students can learn through real-life problem solving.

See examples of past student projects in the SCYP Project Portfolio.

Praise for SCYP

SCYP has been described as "perhaps the most comprehensive effort by a U.S. university to infuse sustainability into its curricula and community outreach" (NY Times - full article) and "one of higher education’s most successful and comprehensive service-learning programs" (Chronicle of Higher Education - full article). 

Become the next Sustainable City Year partner! 

Are you involved in an Oregon city, county, special district, or partnership of governments? Become the next Sustainable City Year partner! Check out the webpage!

Want to implement a similar program at your institution? 

The SCY model is flexible and scalable. It takes advantage of existing academic courses and university expertise. The program is administratively streamlined, requires no curriculum changes, and is culturally appropriate, applying local expertise to local needs.

SCI’s annual Sustainable City Year conference will help you launch an equivalent Sustainable City Year program at your university by giving you the details and strategies that have allowed Oregon’s program model to succeed in what is otherwise a typical university environment. Students are demanding more service-learning experiences, cities desperately need assistance, and universities must adapt to a changing landscape for higher education. The Sustainable City Year has become a model to integrate all three issues and this conference is aimed to help you do the same.

Conference attendees participate in sessions that explain how the SCY program is organized at the University of Oregon and meet with staff from cities that have previously partnered with us. Workshop sessions and follow-up support will enable your university to engage with local communities to improve sustainability and livability.

Service learning programs based the SCYP model have been created in more than 15 states!

Download SCYP printable fliers