Dr. Daniel Fernandez recently accepted the Best Practice Award at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference on behalf of the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) at CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Initiated by Dr. Fernandez in Fall 2015, this program was originally modeled after the flagship program at the University of Oregon and is now a part of a national organization known as the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N). EPIC-N is comprised of a group of 30 universities across the country, along with several international colleges, that aim to partner university courses with local governing bodies to address sustainability issues that the municipality is unable to address on its own.
Once a city submits a sustainability-focused proposal with a number of sustainability-focused projects to CSUMB, the university pairs the city with classes taught by faculty who have expertise in an area consistent with the city’s needs. Thus far, Dr. Dan Fernandez, other faculty, and students have worked with the City of Salinas (2015 - 2017) and are currently working on a number of projects with the City of Seaside (2017-2019).
The collaborative work being done by Dr. Fernandez, other faculty, and students contributes to the overall success of this program, allowing municipalities to gain access to new and creative ideas. Not only does this allow cities the ability to work on sustainable projects outside of their current reach, it also opens up the opportunity for the municipality to save money. In addition to the benefits gained by the partner municipality, students are able to gain valuable insight into the critical role that city governments play in the development and maintenance of a multitude of services. These types of experiences open doors to CSUMB students, giving them access to employment opportunities such as internships and full-time positions with program partners.
Congratulations to Dr. Fernandez and his collaborators on this remarkable achievement. Just another example of an extraordinary opportunity!