The Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) matches University of Oregon students with an Oregon city, county, special district, tribe, or partnership of governments for an entire academic year. Students work on partner-identified projects through existing courses to provide ideas for real solutions to community challenges and sustainable development. Project areas include business, planning, architecture and/or landscape architecture design, community engagement, geography, public policy and management, and law.
360° of Positive Impacts
Outcomes for cities include the implementation of an original sustainability-boosting idea, the implementation of a project that deviates some from the original idea due to unforeseen adaptations or circumstances, and/or several other long term improvements to city management, such as new community and government agency relationships, streamlined workflows, and new perspectives on community issues that arise.
Students have the opportunity to get practical work experience, translate theory into practice, build client relationships in a professional setting, work as part of a collaborative team, develop communications skills, and see real life impacts of their efforts.
The SCYP would not be possible without the diverse and dedicated faculty who are deeply committed to community change and student outcomes.
Lane Transit District
LTD was able to immediately apply financial strategy tools and recommendations developed by Master of Business Administration students, which helped the LTD Board make budget decisions during the coronavirus crisis. Students also provided LTD with planning tools to be used into the future, making the project a lasting investment.
City of Silverton
Landscape architecture students collaborated with city staff and residents to develop visions for the 80-acre Pettit Lake property.
Gresham and Eugene
Students evaluated new mobility’s potential effects on city revenue sources and examined new innovative revenue sources for these cities. SCYP’s student work was then used by Urbanism Next to do cutting edge research.
See a full description of student projects for Gresham and Eugene here.
As the first small city partner, La Pine and the UO successfully partnered to complete 10 projects. Journalism students created video and media projects to promote tourism and the quality of life in La Pine.
“I was able to meet and interview locals who had been living in the area for their entire lives. I spent time with members of the La Pine city council, and got lunch with the city manager. It completely reshaped my conception of La Pine, which is in reality, one of the most vibrant and engaged small communities I have ever been a part of. While I was working with the city, I was gaining real world experiences while practicing my craft, which was one of the most compelling aspects of my educational experience.”
- Ty Boespflug, UO Class of 2018, School of Journalism and Communication
“As Oregon’s newest city, La Pine had a lot of things to accomplish in a condensed timeframe. We worked diligently yet there was another level when we worked with UO students. They were positive and enthusiastic about what was possible for La Pine. It was contagious. The students reminded us of the important work we do in local government.”
- Cory Misley, former La Pine city manager; current City of Sisters city manager
See a full description of projects students did for La Pine here.
Product design students designed a variety of multi-modal transit apps approaches that TriMet implemented to broaden and improve its riders’ experiences.
See a full description of projecs students did for TriMet here.
Planning, architecture, and landscape architecture students focused on reconnecting downtown Albany to the Willamette riverfront with new Monteith park designs, passively heated public restrooms, and new, compatible land uses along Water Avenue.
“We were very impressed by the both the quantity and quality of the work produced. Student recommendations have subsequently been incorporated into plans for our parks system and the Albany waterfront, the Parks & Recreation Department’s business practices, community engagement objectives and other city activities. By increasing our capacity and bringing in fresh ideas, student efforts helped save the City money and make more informed decisions about some of Albany’s significant challenges.”
- Mayor Sharon Konopa, City of Albany
See a full description of projects students did for Albany here.
Students analyzed key transportation hubs and infrastructure to increase cycling and make Redmond the nation’s premier family-friendly cycling community. Many recommendations were incorporated into planning documents and implemented.
See a full description of projects done by students in Redmond here.
Students gathered information on emergency preparedness that the city has since implemented. Students also developed outreach materials and identified the most effective methods for a public awareness campaign.
See a full description of projects done by students for Medford here.
Business and architecture examined development, design, and finance of a LEED certified public library. Students then created a public relations plan to highlight the future library. This work led to a grant award to pursue library facility planning.
See a full description of projects done by students for Springfield here.
Students recommended expanding industrial by-product reuse, which led to $1 million annual savings.
See a full description of projects students did for Salem here.
Students created scenarios for transit-oriented compact residential apartments that included shared habitat-sensitive outdoor spaces and linkages to light rail transit.
See a full description of projects students did for Gresham here.