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University of Wisconsin-Madison – 2020 Outstanding Program Award Finalist

The UniverCity Year program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the 2020 Outstanding Program Award finalists!

Every year, EPIC-N celebrates outstanding contributions by university programs and community partners through the 2020 EPIC-N awards.

The UniverCity Year (UCY) program connects communities to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

UniverCity Year is a program of the UniverCity Alliance, a network of leaders from across UW-Madison, hosted at COWS and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. UniverCity Alliance serves as a front door for local governments to access UW expertise and students, and catalyzes UW-Madison’s contribution to our shared urban future. UniverCity Alliance and its UCY program connect education, service and research activities across UW-Madison with cities, furthering the practice of sustainability.

Recent innovations of the UCY program include matching projects with institutions outside of UW-Madison that may be better poised, because of proximity or expertise, to work on UCY projects. By adding this additional layer to the community partnership, UCY has advanced the EPIC-N Model and goes above and beyond traditional partnerships

The UCY program actively engages other institutions of higher education in working on projects. Because UCY is working in areas of the state where there are some colleges/universities much closer to the community, UCY has targeted outreach to these universities. For the partnership with Pepin County, UCY matched two projects with two different institutions: UW-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire. For Brown County (projects tarting in fall 2020), UCY asked UW-Green Bay to be in the room when discussing projects in more detail with the community. They have already identified a handful of professors who want to work on projects with the community. In Milwaukee County, staff submitted a project about racially disparate outcomes. Given the sensitivity of the project, it made sense to seek out local higher education partners. The UCY managing director reached out to a colleague at Marquette University, a faculty of color who also chairs the Milwaukee County Human Rights Commission, and it has been matched with his class over three academic semesters.