UConn Launches Program to Help Address Local Hartford Issues

by David McCloskey

A new initiative between UConn and the City of Hartford will aim to use University resources to address the city’s most pressing issues and involve students in local service.

The Office of Public Engagement, located in Storrs, coordinates all engagement activities across the entire University of Connecticut. Over the summer, the Office created the Sustainable Hartford Task Force to oversee all engagement in the Hartford area, and to create a model which other cities can use.

To provide administration of its activities in Hartford, the task force came up with the Charter Oak Sustainable Communities Initiative (COSCI), a project to serve as a link between the resources of the University (that’s you, among other things) and the community of Hartford.

The new initiative is a partnership between the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative (CULI)  – a non-profit law firm located on the campus of the Law School – and the broader University. The initiative will focus on projects proposed by municipalities, housing authorities, regional planning groups or neighborhood organizations from a wide range of issues related to the long-term sustainability of Hartford communities – including development policy, land use, environmental concerns, public health, transportation, governance, economics and other social issues.

This initiative will allow professors (both undergraduate and graduate across the University) to bring students out into service projects which are related to courses they teach, or will allow them to create courses around service projects that interest them.

The initiative hopes to be an open resource for communication with engagement projects both for other colleges and universities, and for non-academic institutions.