I am excited this month to share that a project proposal developed within the Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (CommNS), one of the SoHE Centers of Excellence, has been selected by the UW Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) for funding.
The project, titled “Connecting Landscapes in the Greater Guadalajara Socio-Ecological Ecosystem: An International Studies Action Research Partnership for Sustainability”, will be led by Principal Investigators Dr. Connie Flanagan of SoHE’s Civil Society and Community Studies (CSCS) Department, and Dr. Paul Zedler of the Nelson Institute. Dr. Carolina Sarmiento of SoHE/CSCS, as well as Dr. Maria Moreno of the UW Arboretum’s Earth Partnerships Program, will play key roles in community-engaged aspects of the project. Lori DiPrete Brown and the Global Health Institute, as well as Dr. Alberto Vargas and the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, are also key contributors.
Dr. Eduardo Santana, UW alum and faculty in the state of Jalisco university system in Mexico, as well as a network of his local university and community collaborators, will be on-site partners.
This newly funded incubator project is an excellent example of the way the CommNS, and SoHE’s Centers as a whole, are effective in convening a variety of researchers and units on campus, connecting our campus community with external community partners, and nurturing broad concepts into concrete innovative projects.
The project will deliver the following objectives:
- Establishing a community-engaged outdoor youth science and sustainability educational program, “Earth Partnerships” in Guadalajara, in connection with the new “Museo de Ciencias Ambientales.”
- Deepening and formalizing long-term professional collaborations and relationships among Jalisco and UW faculty and staff in a variety of disciplines.
The project is funded for $50,000. With this initial funding, the project team will create a platform for a meaningful community program that will positively impact lives and neighborhoods within Guadalajara. This platform will also advance understanding of the way that youth involvement in science education leads to civic engagement around natural resources critical to healthy living.
Additionally, this work will serve as a focal point of future collaboration among UW and Jalisco researchers on a variety of topics. Within the year of project funding, the multidisciplinary team of UW faculty and staff involved in the project will apply for additional grants for continuing work in their respective disciplines, rooted in the new Guadalajara site and/or in collaboration with faculty of the state of Jalisco system or Jalisco-based community partners.
This project is a targeted way to expand upon meaningful collegial relationships among UW researchers and their state of Jalisco counterparts, which have been ongoing for decades. Past collaborations among dairy scientists, environmental scientists, and global and community health experts have resulted in a loose network of friends and colleagues that cross the Mexican-U.S. border and fortify the connections between Jalisco and Wisconsin. In this rich community of collaborators, it has long been noted that our work together could have even more impact if a more deliberate approach to sharing among institutions, regions, and researchers were pursued.
The CommNS and the Centers, in collaboration with the Nelson Institute, the UW Arboretum, and our friends in Jalisco, are extremely excited to have secured this opportunity to take a step in this direction.
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