Promoting Sustainable Madison by Learning from Freiburg

by Dadit Hidayat

This summer from May 29th to June 14th, the Global Health Institute (GHI) funded a 3-week summer course as part of the Wisconsin Without Borders (WWB) initiative called “GreenFreiburg in Madison.”  WWB is a collaborative initiative between the Morgridge Center, GHI, and the Division of International Studies. CUE staff provided curriculum development to instructor Ted Petith, with support from Professors Nancy Mathews, Nelson Institute, and Alfonso Morales, Urban and Regional Planning.  Following up on last summer’s course “GreenSummer in Freiburg”, where15 undergraduates traveled to Freiburg for six weeks for internships, service learning projects, and research about Freiburg’s sustainable practices and technology, this year’s locally-based course brought in Uwe Ladenburger from the University of Freiburg to work with Global Health Certificate students in building awareness of Green Practices that can be replicated here in Madison.  Ted Markus Petith, community co-instructor and Freiburg native, showed students the complex connections between sustainability and global health to identify specific green behavior that improves human health and quality of life.  Mr. Petith designed site visits for students to learn about similar sustainability project initiatives in Madison. Further, students were encouraged to identify opportunities for other potential green projects.  A journal article about this initiative is available online.

Freiburg is one of Madison’s oldest sister cities.  They have achieved 40% CO2 reduction, have integrated public transportation, incentivized low-energy housing and mandated near-zero energy standards for public buildings.  These courses have been set up to facilitate sharing  findings and knowledge of Freiburg with City of Madison engineers, planners, recycling coordinators, and UW-Madison’s Office of Sustainability.  The goal is to continue to grow this exchange. Students will return to Freiburg again in 2013, and the Morgridge Center and CUE are in discussions about creating a “Sustainable Sister-City Network” of faculty, academic staff and students with individual expertise in all aspects of Freiburg’s knowledge base.

As a service-learning course, students’ enthusiasm and energy were also directed toward a tangible “deliverable” product that could be useful for our campus and the City of Madison.  Students worked on a “MadEcoGuide” detailing Green features of our campus and city which will be distributed to students through the Office of Sustainability, Campus Residence’s GreenHouse community, and other locations. ■

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CUE: South West Madison

by Ashleigh Ross and Marian Slaughter

CUE has been involved with the South West Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) and their associated work groups since fall of 2011.  SWMCO is a group of southwest Madison residents, UW faculty and students, and Madison/Dane County Public Health Department nurses that work to build leadership in the community as a way to promote holistic health and well being.  SWMCO requested support from CUE to help them better manage faculty and student requests for involvement.  Specifically, SWMCO asked CUE to help them document their community organizing process and model and to act in a role similar to “traffic cop” to coordinate and organize university requests for partnerships.  CUE is also supporting SWMCO in identifying resource gaps and finding ways that students, faculty and staff can help fill them.  CUE graduate students have assisted SWMCO by recruiting interns to help with a local children’s garden, finding science presenters for the Hammersley Youth Activity Day, coordinating with UW classes that are working in Southwest Madison, and participating in SWMCO planning processes.

Professor Randy Stoecker taught a Community and Environmental Sociology capstone course in the spring of 2012 which provided research support for community leaders interested in creating a neighborhood house/community center in the Hammersley area.  Students in the course conducted research about Madison area community centers to determine which services were offered for people of all ages and then provided a list of these possibilities for community leaders that included funding sources, programming, transportation and infrastructure models.

In the next year, at least 3 UW classes, Professors Stoecker in Community and Environmental Sociology, Brian Christens and Shannon Sparks in School of Human Ecology, and Sam Dennis Jr. in Landscape Architecture with Ashleigh Ross, CUE assistant and Environmental Studies TA, will utilize student research and service to support SWMCO’s efforts.  Currently, CUE is working with SWMCO and faculty to determine which priorities will be addressed in these classes.  Through this process CUE staff will be working with SWMCO members to design a process for academic research to ensure that the community is engaged with research and that the UW efforts meet community needs. ■

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Family Voices Program

by Marian Slaughter

During a Family Voices International Day Meal (CUE, 2012)

The Family Voices (FV) Mentor-Tutoring program arose out of more than five years of conversations between African- American families living in the south side of Madison and faculty and staff of UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology.  While many ideas for community improvement were identified through these extensive conversations, the families felt supporting the academic performance of the community’s children through the use of tutors would be a powerful place to begin. Since 2006, FV has provided tutoring on Saturdays for African American children of South Madison in a variety of venues, including Lincoln Elementary School. In fall 2010, FV began a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC).  The BGCDC/FV partnership is strengthening the program’s foundation and its ability to continue developing and implementing a culturally relevant Saturday morning mentor-tutor-enrichment program for students in grades K-8 with strong parent engagement and with a focus on African American families and mentor-tutors.

Through the rich networks of community-based research projects and researchers, Dr. Boyd Rossing (emeritus), the Principal Investigator of the Family Voices program, learned about CUE, its mission to encourage and support community-based research and the possibility of accessing resources that would assist the Family Voices program increase its capacity to serve its targeted population.  The timing of CUE support could have not been more beneficial! Beginning in the summer of 2011, CUE began assisting the program and BGCDC in three important ways.  First, a CUE staff member supported Family Voices with program administration and development, documentation and implementation support.  Second, in conjunction with the School of Human Ecology, CUE staff developed curriculum and taught a pilot professional development course for the  undergraduates serving as mentor-tutors volunteers. This for-credit course was conducted at the BGCDC on alternating Saturdays during the spring 2012 semester.  Third, UW students participating in CUE-funded courses through the Interdisciplinary Studies department that grew out of the CUE pilot were able to gain important community-based research experience by conducting selected inquiries each semester which facilitated FV program development and improvement.

During the 2012-2013 year, Family Voices anticipates increasing the participation of K-8 students while focusing on developing more parent involvement activities and sharpening its curriculum and instructional practices.  While continuing to support program development, the work of the CUE staff member will shift to from program administration and implementation to the work of program evaluation and documentation of the FV program’s historical evolution. ■

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Savor South Madison: A Food Campaign

by Dadit Hidayat

“Journalism Professor Young Mie Kim contacted me in search of a community partner for her service-learning course on social media, and the timing could not have been better,” Beth Tryon says.  “It was in fall 2011, and we had just finished our CUE pilot year in South Madison, and her faculty objectives fit perfectly to expand it.”  Building on the findings of Professor McAlister’s Consumer Science students in the CUE pilot, a social media course could provide another way for students to contribute to the goal of improving economic vitality in South Madison, as the new technology had been discussed as a great way to reach new audiences.

A total of twelve undergraduate students signed up for Journalism 676: Technology for Social Change taught by Professor Kim.  They collaborated with the South Metropolitan Planning Council (SMPC) to design and launch a social media campaign that makes salient in the minds of all Madison residents the message that the food culture of South Madison is “young, hip, and truly multicultural.”

The focus on food was originally suggested by John Quinlan from SMPC because one of the strengths of the South Madison community is its globally representative food culture.  The various food establishments in South Madison, specifically on South Park Street, provide many opportunities for people to have a unique dining and social experience.  “We all feel assured by John and that food is an optimal tool to boost social capital in the South Madison area,” according to Amanda Radowszewski, one of the students in the class.  The link to the Slow Food UW work with the Farmers’ Market and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County also lent a ready-made audience for a cooking contest sponsored by the class.

When conducting this project, among the first steps was to classify the S. Park St. food establishments by their capacity to facilitate bridging and bonding among patrons, an objective in building community capacity around the common interest in eating.  The students discovered in the process that a semester was too short to gain a comprehensive understanding of the level and modes of media and technology use in South Madison.  However, they are confident that accessibility has always been a key issue in media technology usage, and that South Madison is likely lacking technology resources compared to the greater Madison community.

Thus, SMPC and students agreed that a new communication technology should be promoted to connect people more efficiently, combined with the more creative use of traditional media.  The class recommended use of integrated technology such as websites, social networks, texting programs, and other platforms to address the issue.  A website the students designed,, is the result of the collaborative work.  That platform is supported by online social media outlets Facebook, Twitter, Pinterests, and Youtube.  This course continued as a Special Topics course in Spring 2012 and is now becoming a permanent part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication curriculum. ■

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Slow Food UW Expands Work in South Madison

by Cara Ladd, Co-Chair Slow Food UW

There is a strong food culture in South Madison.  More than just a meal, the local community considers food a key factor in engaging community members.  A few local groups have initiated a variety of food-related programs.  Human capacity to be involved, however, have been an ongoing issue.

This issue led Dr. Margaret Nellis to put out a flyer on campus asking for interns to assist with the South Madison Farmer’s Market.  From only two interns in 2009, the student involvement in South Madison has grown to a cohort of eight interns every semester, who co-facilitate a one-credit module with Dr. Nellis.  They have worked on multiple projects along with coordinating volunteer opportunities for Slow Food UW, a campus student organization.  “I’d say over a hundred Slow Food UW students have participated in at least one activity in South Madison,” according to Dr. Nellis.  Because of Dr. Nellis’ involvement in CUE South Madison, these ongoing food projects were integrated into the CUE matrix during the pilot year.  Since then, the Slow Food UW has been among CUE’s continued supporters in promoting community-based learning on campus.

A Stand at the South Madison Farmer’s Market during the Celebrate South Madison festival (Slow Food UW, 2011).

Aly Miller and Emily Duma, two interns in spring 2011 during the CUE pilot year, determined that the Slow Food UW involvement in South Madison should be directed to meet two primary objectives: (1) generating understanding of our privileges in the food system and using this knowledge to achieve social change, and (2) learning ways to be involved in improving South Madison’s uneven socio-economic landscape.  With the support of a $5,000 Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship from the Morgridge Center awarded to Shelbi Jentz, Wally Graeber, and myself in 2011, Slow Food UW was able to specify four areas of activities for involvement: educating the community on sustainability and health, reducing health disparities, improving food access, and supporting Madison area farmers.

Building on these guidelines and with the support of the Slow Food UW team, Shelbi, Wally, and I organized a total of seven programs during the 2011-2012 academic year. Collaboratively with community partners, we

  • served meals and snacks during Science Nights events at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery;
  • offered a one-credit South Madison Food Justice Action Collective class for project participants in the fall and spring semesters;
  • served the Family Voices participants locally-sourced brunches, organized Teen Cooking Nights, and established two gardens with the Boys and Girls Club;
  • provided teaching assistance for Badger Rock Middle School.

Two of our former South Madison interns, Donald Malchow (L) and Tae-Young Nam (C), at a kid’s apple stand during the Celebrate South Madison festival (Slow Food UW, 2011).

In all of these events, a total of 13 Slow Food student interns were involved, 62 meals were served, $5200 was spent, and more than 972 hours of community service were rendered for preparation.

When multiple projects work together in an area, the opportunities to multiply the benefits are greatly encouraged.  The collaboration between the Slow Food UW and Family Voices in South Madison resulted in the children who were enrolled in the program being able to participate in food preparation as educational enrichment while expanding their palates to include more fruits, vegetables, meatless main courses and lower sugar treats.  The parents looked forward to the new and delicious meals that their children helped prepare and sometimes serve.  Similarly, the Slow Food UW students’ passion and enthusiasm for cooking during the Teen Cooking Nights attracted young students into the kitchen to help cook, tell stories and bond over food preparation and sharing.  The same happened at the Badger Rock Middle School, where I provided assistance to a teacher.  Being exposed to hands-on fieldwork where they can learn how to prepare vegetables and cultivate their own garden sparks the conversation in the home about the importance of eating healthy and eating local.  This type of community education and action is really what the project was all about.  Shelbi recalls, “A memorable moment was when kids expressed to us that they sometimes go home and try the recipes [from their Teen Cooking Nights] with their parents.”

Reflecting on his experience, Wally says “Just telling someone that it is “good” to support local and environmentally friendly businesses is not enough.  Those words do not mean anything to them unless you can compare and contrast the effects, good or bad.”

When we open our minds to working with K-12 students, just like other members of a community, their highly critical way of thinking is very positive in helping future leaders.  Community-based learning like this is what helps students improve their  communication and civic engagement skills.  This type of community education and action is really what our project was all about.

It is the plan that Slow Food UW continues to engage South Madison community with their programs for healthy eating.  The next Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellows affiliated with the Slow Food UW, Tori Law and Maddy Levin, plan on continuing their work and sharing more exciting stories. ■

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Building Infrastructure for Meaningful Partnership

by Ashleigh Ross

Students in Inter-HE 504 (1) during the CUE Pilot Year after presenting their findings in front of the South Park Street partners (CUE,2010)

One of CUE’s functions is to coordinate overlapping efforts to avoid duplication and help streamline large, complex projects.  With a university the size of the UW, it is often difficult for professors, students and staff to find each other in order to collaborate and amplify their work.  The result can be that nonprofit organizations get overwhelmed with partnership offers, and residents can suffer from research fatigue from having participated in similar studies numerous times.  CUE is creating that infrastructure to store previous reports and project information so future initiatives can build on existing work, and focus on community-initiated priorities to ensure real benefits for community partners.

The CUE pilot in South Madison is an example of how this can work.  Although the UW, via Campus-Community Partnerships and individual faculty, had been involved with the South Park St. area for many years, no organizing body was keeping track of the multiple and disparate partnerships.  When CUE first became involved with South Park St., our staff met with academic and community representatives to identify work that had already been done, for example “food desert” mapping, so that project teams could build on past research instead of replicating studies.  CUE also coordinated the efforts of all students working with South Park St. to have them present work to community members at the same time.  This allowed community members the opportunity to learn about a range of projects at one time, and demonstrated to all participants ways to work collaboratively in the future.  Due to the success of the pilot, community partners agreed to expand in several areas.

The following stories are about the CUE projects added in 2011-2012. ■

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Community Leadership and Community-Based Evaluation

by Ariel Kaufman

Community collaboration is an iterative, organic process. Many times decisions that affect community wellness, economic vitality and cultural diversity of a community occur without direct involvement of those affected.  South Madison neighborhoods and community organizations are working to broaden and deepen the level of engagement of those stake-holders.  Students, residents, and organizations can develop leader capacities and relational leadership to ensure families and communities have a voice in their own destiny.  In this process, students and institutions also learn from the cultural histories and community assets of South Madison.

Two courses in the Community and Nonprofit Leadership major were offered to help students develop relational leadership skills.  Following the CUE Pilot Year,  Dr. Margaret Nellis and I collaboratively facilitated Inter-HE 560: Community Leadership in fall 2011 and Inter-HE 570: Community-Based Research and Evaluation in spring 2012.  A total of seven projects in 2011-2012 were designed with community-based organizations in the South Metropolitan Planning Council’s area.  All used events and activities to build relational leadership.  These courses initiated inquiry across projects to explore: how do community practitioners use events to develop and deepen engagement?  How can community practitioners use events to help develop collaborative leadership?  More details about each community project will be presented in the next issue of CUE Newsletter.

Having facilitated these courses and different projects, we were able to refine our model in promoting student learning and community social change.  In collaboration with community partners, we developed four effective strategies to identify priorities, communicate regularly, collect relevant information, and deliver usable results (Figure 3). We also learned language matters (Figure 4) to our community partners, and so we worked to develop and use language that resonated more deeply with them to increase the effectiveness of the partnership. ■

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CUE Pilot Year

by Ashleigh Ross

How to build a Science Shop model for Madison? UW professionals and graduate students, interested faculty and community partners all agreed that the CUE pilot stood a better chance of succeeding if built on a strong established relationship. We considered a decade of sustained partnership between the UW- Madison and the South Park St. area to be an ideal model. Community representation included South Metropolitan Planning Council (SMPC), Park Street Partners, South Madison Farmer’s Market, and the Boys and Girls Club and Dane County. CUE affiliates on campus and community organizations from this economically, ethnically, and culturally diverse area had long- standing connections. Dr. Margaret Nellis and Ariel Kaufman had both been involved in a program called Campus-Community Partnerships (CCP) out of the Office of the Chancellor. CCP was a collaborative effort among higher education institutions and S. Park St. community development organizations. It had lost UW-Madison funding and its stakeholders reached out to CUE to fill the gap.

A section of South Park St. taken from a shoe repair store that has existed since 1938 (University Communication, 2005)

The pilot had two main goals: (1) to create an infrastructure for partnerships that would provide opportunities for community groups to access the UW with specific issues and problems; and (2) to work on actual community-based participatory research (CBPR) in a collaboration between the university and the community.

These two goals were translated into a two-semester plan: a CBPR needs assessment and curriculum development in fall 2010, and a Special Topics CBPR seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies (IS), School of Human Ecology, approved by Chair Cynthia Jasper, “Community-University Exchange: South Madison.” as “home base” in spring 2011. The fall activities defined specific research questions, developed a research plan, and collected and analyzed some preliminary data following the guidelines indicated in the Community Identified Priorities (CIPs, Figure 1). The class provided an effective and efficient mechanism for incorporating students into CUE, by channeling students with interdisciplinary backgrounds and skills into project teams. These were complemented by other service- learning classes, all orchestrated by CUE’s planning team.

During this one-year process, CUE staff, community stakeholders, and students collaboratively identified three top community issues that we had capacity to address: [1] economic vitality of South Park St., [2] image/perception of stigma of the area, and [3] healthy food access and nutrition education.

The students in the CUE: South Madison class worked on a community-driven project with the SMPC to address the misperception by many in the city of South Park St.’s attributes. With assistance from Professor Hemant Shah of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the course conducted a media bias study, exploring whether anecdotal evidence that the mainstream print outlets were prejudiced in their coverage was supported by quantitative data.

An evaluation of that course was conducted, and results showed satisfaction of students, staff and community participants with how the CUE pilot went and its impact on the community in providing needed research. The model we employed in that course has been institutionalized as part of the curriculum in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, and is now a required course for all Community Nonprofit Leadership majors.

Three other groups participated in the pilot:

  • Professor Anna McAlister taught Consumer Science 477, aiding CUE in addressing the CIP of economic vitality. Students interviewed business owners on South Park Street and made recommendations based on their coursework as to how they might attract other students to patronize their businesses. Suggestions such as installing bike racks, promoting free Wi-Fi where offered, and signage visible from a bicycle were ideas that business owners said they greatly appreciated from the student perspective.
  • Dr. Nellis led an independent study with Slow-Food UW interns, who worked with South Madison Farmers’ Market manager Robert Pierce and the Boys & Girls Club to promote healthy eating initiatives for children. This project has expanded and is ongoing (see other article).
  • A capstone internship project with the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate program in the Department of Geography contributed assistance with mapping foreclosure data. Common Wealth Development (CWD) and the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce approached CUE, concerned about how the South Madison community is affected by foreclosures of homeowners and renters. CUE was able to connect CWD with Jeff Becker, a student in the GIS certificate program. With assistance from Matthew Kures of the UW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development, Jeff conducted spatial analysis of Dane County foreclosure data. The resulting map showed a distinct cluster of foreclosed properties in the South and Southwest Madison area. Further, three of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in all of Dane County are located in the South Madison area: Allied Community, Burr Oaks neighborhood, and Bram’s Addition neighborhood. The CWD hoped to use the visual representation to obtain Federal Neighborhood Stabilization funds to purchase imperiled apartment complexes so the tenants are not dislocated. A full report on how Jeff implemented the GIS analysis is available at the CUE website. ■

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CUE Expands Morgridge Center’s Reach

by Nancy Mathews, Morgridge Center Director

For more than 15 years, the Morgridge Center for Public Service has sought to uphold the Wisconsin Idea—the belief that the boundaries of the university extend to the boundaries of the state and provide university resources for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin. When I became director in 2010, community partners suggested that the Center could help by showcasing the UW-Madison’s extraordinary resources via a clear and visible “front door.”

When discussions about the Community University Exchange (CUE) began in 2010, it was clear that this initiative could create that front door. It could also enhance the Morgridge Center’s ability to advance the Wisconsin Idea and allow the Center to achieve a new level of service to the Madison community and beyond. Now, nearly two years later, after the debut of an pilot and now three more multifaceted projects, CUE has indeed become a “front door” to the university for those who seek joint initiatives to tackle complex social issues.

While some of these projects are highly visible, many are not. Community organizations can more easily find researchers tracking their topics of interest through CUE. At the same time, researchers can use the exchange to seamlessly find community partners.
CUE is poised to amplify engaged scholarship by bringing together faculty, staff, students and community partners. Key ingredients which lead to successful partnerships include the three C’s of engaged scholarship: commitment, communication and compatibility (Stoecker and Tryon, 2009).

CUE has made the Morgridge Center a more direct advocate for community-based learning. CUE supports campus researchers in sharing their expertise and resources while simultaneously learning from communities. Together, authentic and deep learning experiences will be created for students, and community projects will have enhanced impact and build sustainable capacity. ■

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Introducing CUE

by Beth Tryon, CUE Program Chair

Welcome to the first issue of the Community-University Exchange (CUE) Newsletter! The interdisciplinary mission of the newest Morgridge Center program is to connect academic resources with community knowledge to develop sustainable solutions and support social action. CUE is in its second year and growing rapidly. We are thankful for the wonderful collaborative spirit of our current campus and community partners and look forward to expanding that number.

While conducting my graduate research at UW-Madison, faculty mentor Randy Stoecker introduced me to the European “Science Shop” model. Its philosophy resonated with the Madison community in its desire for efficiency of access to higher education resources and for community-identified priorities to drive collaborative projects. Striving to equalize the balance of power lessens the burden of academic partnership for non-profits, while deepening student learning through more authentic relationships. The streamlined coordination of complex projects also supports faculty in 
conducting rigorous research without being overwhelmed by the extra time demands of mutually respectful community partnership.

So in summer 2010, a group of campus and community folks met to explore this structure for democratizing knowledge. I was fortunate to have Morgridge Center director Nancy Mathews provide seed funding for a pilot project in South Madison on a set of community-identified priorities that faculty and students had capacity to address, including bias in the media and healthy food access. Please flip through this newsletter for more detail on all our CUE projects.

The new course created for the CUE pilot is now institutionalized as a requirement for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Development majors in the School of Human Ecology. Since then, we have begun to collaborate on new project areas. Articles by the talented graduate students heading those project management teams follow in these pages. As Phil Nyden, Director of the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola U-Chicago has stated numerous times, “We could never do this without our graduate students!”

We are also involved in several professional development opportunities in community-based pedagogies for graduate students and faculty (stories follow in these pages). We hope that this communication will help to pique your interest – what could you get out of CUE? All faculty, academic staff, students and community organizations are encouraged to inquire. ■

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