UO and Springfield Celebrate SCYP Success

On Friday, May 18, UO students, faculty, Springfield government officials and community partners gathered at Springfield’s Royal Caribbean International Call Center to celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 Sustainable City Year Program – a highly successful collaboration between the University of Oregon and Springfield.

Nearly 100 attendees reviewed the work of 433 students displayed throughout the impressive space. The work was done in classes from 10 disciplines – planning, public policy, business, law, economics, journalism, sustainability, architecture, landscape architecture, and arts and administration.

This year’s SCY program consisted of 31 classes and 60,000 hours of creative work – all focused on making Springfield a more sustainable city.   

“We are extremely impressed with the work this year’s students have created,” said SCYP Program Manager Bob Choquette. “They showed us innovative designs and creativity in thinking about the future.”

Springfield Management Analyst, Courtney Griesel, agreed. “This has been an amazing opportunity for students to work side-by-side with city staff on a wide range of community projects and we couldn’t be more excited about the innovative ideas and concepts generated through the partnership.” She called the end of year celebration, “the ultimate show and tell!”

Linda Olson of the city of Springfield walked through the large center space where all of the student work was on display. While looking at the students’ renderings, she said, “The inspiration is in the new ideas.” She added that while people who’ve worked with the city for a long time can “become closed – they know what works and what won’t,” the students have fresh ideas and think, “I have an idea. Why won’t it work?”

While Olson reviewed architecture student Yaman Tezcan’s library design renditions, she said, “We come from a generation of closed walls.  Look at those skylights. The light is inspiring. The inspiration I get from the kids is amazing.”

Len Goodwin, Springfield Public Works director, closely examined students’ concepts for redeveloping the Waremart site. “They took what we said in our review and incorporated it and improved each one significantly,” he said. As he pointed to specific components in some of the designs, he added, “These are sorts of things you would never expect to put in whole, but you can take pieces of the designs and use them. It’s all very nice work.”

Marc Schlossberg, SCI co-founder, addressed the crowd and praised the students who did such great work. “It’s been a fantastic year and the enthusiasm of the students proves this has been a fantastic experiment,” he said. Nico Larco, also an SCI co-founder, agreed.

UO Acting Provost Lorraine Davis also spoke to the attendees. She praised the SCY program. “It’s one thing to say at a kick-off event, ‘This is what we’re going to do…’ but there’s nothing like being at the end of the event and seeing the energy and excitement of the projects.”

Davis noted how the student work brought to fruition all the work of the university students and faculty, cities, and public officials. “It’s all intertwined. This is how we make progress as communities, cities and citizens.”

She said the path to progress was based on “Connection. Collaboration. Commitment. Community.” Speaking to the students, she said, “You made that happen in ways that you will never forget. This has long-term educational impacts and has a wonderful impact on Oregon. This is what we care about. Sustainability.”

Springfield Assistant City Manager Jeff Towery thanked those who worked on SCYP and the Springfield City Council. “If we didn’t have the council’s forethought and support, we wouldn’t have gotten here.” He said it was interesting to see the how the work has changed during the course of the year but he hadn’t seen it all in one room before.

“It’s daunting and it’s uber cool. You guys rock.”

Read more about the SCYP Springfield projects at http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/scymainpage.htm