The Sustainable City Year Program is a university-community connection where cities work with universities to “matchmake” community needs (as determined by someone in city management) to university expertise. The matchmaking is done by someone on campus once the needs of the city are determined.
The university sends out an RFP to regional city governments soliciting them for a “wish list” of sustainability-related projects. Interested cities respond with proposals that describe sustainability-related projects that they would like to work on, but may be unable to due to staffing or other limitations.
Someone at the university connects those city projects with likely faculty who teach related courses and solicits those faculty to see if they would be willing to incorporate this project into their existing class (that is, no new classes need to be created). The proposal that has the best fit to faculty expertise (and can contribute sufficient funding to maintain the needed connection) is selected that year. A contract is then generated between the university and the city to pursue the work. One of the unique features of this model is the interdisciplinarity that it engenders. In other words, partnerships are created across many disciplines on campus. So far that has included Environmental Studies, Social and Behavioral Science, Statistics and Psychology.