The University of Colorado Denver and the City of Arvada are once again partnering for the Hometown Colorado initiative. Hometown Colorado is an innovative campus outreach program that connects CU Denver students and faculty with city staff on projects to increase sustainability and livability.
Hometown Colorado provides students with hands-on learning opportunities while continuing the university’s commitment to the greater Denver-metro community. The program uses cross-disciplinary collaboration over an academic year to help cities become more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.
Altogether, the undergraduate and graduate students in several CU Denver schools and colleges will provide 40,000 hours of work on the projects. Students will produce high-quality deliverables and will present their findings and results when the program ends next spring.
“We are enthusiastic about matching over 20 projects put forward by City of Arvada staff with faculty and students across the CU Denver,” said Hometown Colorado Program Manager Vickie Berkley. “The expertise and enthusiasm that we can bring to these projects will expand the city’s capacity to meet goals that they have set for future growth.”
Students and faculty have already started work on projects that address Arvada’s sustainability and development goals. Projects center on water conservation, diverse and affordable housing planning efforts, alternative transportation modes, and parks and open space that encourage healthy living.
This is the second year that the City of Arvada will partner with CU Denver through this program.
“This past year we have seen the creativity that students bring to projects such as park plans, meeting housing needs and providing ways to meet water conservation goals,” said Rita McConnell, Community Development Director for the City of Arvada. “Our staff has benefited from student involvement and has enjoyed the interaction with students, providing them with feedback that helps them learn from real world projects.”
CU Denver’s Hometown Colorado Initiative is part of a growing network of over 25 universities across the U.S. that have adopted the successful model developed at the University of Oregon. That model links communities with existing courses across campus to address pressing community needs and to enhance students’ learning experience by working on real projects.