Matching Local Government Sustainability Goals with University Capacity: The E.P.I.C. Model
Thursday, July 19, 2018: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Building 3, Room 212 (ITAM)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Chair: Jessica Barlow, Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network; San Diego State University
This panel demonstrates how the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) Model can engage university faculty and students in public administration and other disciplines to evaluate policy, conduct research, and provide solutions, designs, and recommendations for sustainability-related projects proposed by local government partners (usually cities). The EPIC Model has been implemented at 30 US institutions and a dozen others in Mexico, Israel, and sub-Saharan Africa. Per the Model, the city submits a proposal for a yearlong partnership with a university-affiliated EPIC program through an RFP process wherein the city details needs associated with projects addressing environmental, social justice, and/or economic sustainability goals. EPIC program staff then engage in a matchmaking process, whereby faculty and their courses are matched with project needs identified in the proposal. The scale of engagement is massive: Hundreds of students dedicate tens of thousands of hours of effort toward city projects during the year. Because the city pays for the partnership, universities are able to pay program staff to handle partnership logistics, thereby decreasing the burden on faculty time and increasing faculty participation. The city maintains engagement because their allocation of funds creates greater commitment to the partnership and deliverables, and city staff are often energized by students’ creative drive. In this panel, we explain the Model and how it can be replicated at universities, and we highlight projects completed through San Diego State University’s EPIC program – the Sage Project – through partnerships with Cities of Lemon Grove, National City, San Diego, and Tijuana.