What is SCYP?
The Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) started in 2009 with the goal of applying the diverse expertise and activities of the University of Oregon toward improving the sustainability of cities. The initial program that year was the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), an innovative and radically simple approach to purposively connect existing courses across the university to a single city over an academic year to work on city-identified needs related to sustainability.
SCYP links students at the University of Oregon with an Oregon city, county, special district, or partnership of governments for an entire academic year. The city and the university work together to direct existing courses to meet the city's self-identified 'real-world' projects and plans. Each term there are a variety of courses ranging across a multitude of disciplines such as architecture, community and regional planning, journalism, business, and more. In a typical year, SCYP addresses 15-25 projects throughout 20-30 courses with 500+ students across 10+ academic departments dedicating 40,000+ hours of student work.
How does EPIC-N Connect with SCYP?
In 2011, SCI began training other universities and communities throughout the U.S. and internationally on ways to adopt the SCYP model. The University of Minnesota was the first university to adopt this framework in 2012, and over 25 others have since adopted and adapted the SCYP model for their university and community contexts. It quickly became apparent that this model of higher education-community partnership could be disseminated at a broad scale, while still allowing universities to focus on their fields of expertise such as sustainability, resiliency, etc.
While this partnership framework was referred to as "the Oregon Model" by new programs, the University of Oregon SCI co-founders decided that model dissemination, peer-to-peer learning, and development of tools that all programs could utilize would be better served by creating a network of programs that could work on these initiatives collectively. In 2014, the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N) was founded to work on these broader goals. The University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Initiative still plays a leadership role in developing and building EPIC-N and efforts are ongoing to find sponsorship of this effort to increase EPIC-N's model dissemination and impact on higher education institutions and communities.
Click here to learn more about EPIC-N.
Click here to learn more about SCYP.