San Diego State University


San Diego State University
The Sage Project
Case Type
Program Stories
School Size
20,000 - 40,000
Focus Areas
Democratic Governance, Economic and Social Inclusion, Environment Sustainability
Art, Civil Engineering, Communications, Computer Science, Design, Engineering, Finance, Geography, GIS, Graphic Design, Nonprofits, Placemaking, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Health, Public Policy, Transportation

The Sage Project

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Sage is a program within the Center for Regional Sustainability at San Diego State University with a simple goal: sustainable learning through community-based projects. Sage partners with local communities in the Southern California region, which can be a local, county or state government, a non-profit organization, or other local agencies. Projects generated by the community partner are matched with SDSU faculty and students in their existing courses who gain real-world experience and simultaneously provide added capacity to the community. Each year, Sage engages dozens of faculty members from a dozen disciplines teaching 25-30 courses and enrolling over 500 students. These students devote tens of thousands of hours of effort toward these projects, generating innovative designs, solutions, and recommendations for the community. Projects include:

  1. Wayfinding systems, public art murals, and community gateways
  2. Community engagement in underserved areas
  3. Street improvements to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety
  4. Land use analysis and planning for redevelopment of old industrial areas
  5. Analysis of air quality and recommendations for mitigation of impact on health and well-being
  6. Policy recommendations related to homelessness
  7. Climate action planning
  8. GIS mapping of community assets

Fun Facts about Sage

Sage has gone international via a partnership with the City of Tijuana, Mexico, on a project focused on helping improve parks through community engagement and education. In addition, through partnership with Sage, the City of Lemon Grove, CA, was the first US city to apply the UN Habitat’s climate action planning toolkit.

Year Program Established | 2013
Country | US
Federal Region of Program | 9

Public or Private Institution | Public
Number of students at institution | 35,000

Highlight Videos and Articles

SDSU Students Help Shape Climate Plan In Lemon Grove by Erik Anderson
Lemon Grove breezeway gets updated, fresh look by Karen Pearlman
Lemon Grove may be first in US to use UN toolkit for climate plan by Gary Warth
Project makes students city planners by Gary Warth
Student, city project goes international by Gary Warth
Universities Lend a Hand with Sustainability by the EPA’s Net Zero program
SDSU Devotes 25,000 Student Hours to Lemon Grove for Sage Project by Jonathan Goetz
Municipio lanza programa “Comuniparques” by the San Diego Red

City Partners

2013 | National City • Population: 60,000
2014 | National City  
2015 | National City  
2015 | Santee • Population: 56,000
2015 | San Diego • Population: 1,300,000
2015 | Tijuana • Population: 2,000,000
2016 | Lemon Grove • Population: 26,000
2017 | Lemon Grove
2018 | Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve
2019 | Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve
2019 | La Mesa • Population: 60,000

Contact Info

Jessica Barlow
Program Director
(619) 594-3807

Kristofer Patrón-Soberano
Program Administrator
(619) 594-0103