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Climate Justice

Accelerating University-Community Partnerships for Climate Justice

Accelerating Community-University Partnerships for Climate Justice

Purpose: The project, Accelerating University-Community Partnerships for Climate Justice, goal is to address the challenges of creating successful partnerships to combat climate and environmental injustices. The project seeks to identify best practices for identifying the community partner’s needs, supplementing their existing work with university resources, and working collectively to advance university-community relationships to mitigate climate injustices.

The Issue: The Climate Justice event in April 2021 highlighted the need to cultivate sustainable community-university partnerships to advance climate justice and also supported a long-term partnership between Urban Grower’s Collective (UGC)  and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) sustainability team.

During the event, community participants noted concerns about the exploitative nature of academic research in their communities and a failure to establish long-term relationships and impact. An outcome of the April workshop was the desire to establish an asset map of university and community resources to facilitate lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Methods: Asset mapping in community research that will be used in the development of the asset map. We will also implement an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, as described by Lightfoot et al., which has the community identify and delineate its assets and uses them to develop solutions to a problem that is of concern to them --fostering active community participation.

Outcomes: For this project will be an asset map of university and community resources, a report of best practices to engage in university-community partnerships to address climate justice, and a conceptual map that shows networks and relationships to support efforts to address climate injustices.

Funding: Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE)