On the municipal front, local governments are increasingly pressed for resources while facing stricter energy and climate mandates. Through SEI’s CUSP Program, we attempt to harness the brain trust of local colleges and universities in support of municipal energy and climate planning and project implementation. As part of CUSP, the university essentially ‘adopts’ a city for an academic year, pulling from faculty and entire courses to deliver research, analysis, design, and implementation support across a host of climate-related initiatives targeted by the city/county. SEI staff serves as the CUSP program manager, coordinating and facilitating the dialogue and key connection points between the academic institution and the local municipality.
CUSP offers creative, localized solutions to a community’s climate challenge by:
- Providing municipalities with high quality research and consulting services that support local sustainability goals and objectives.
- Leveraging the assets and expertise of nearby institutions of higher education to delivery new ideas and solutions.
- Offering college/university staff and students a living laboratory for interdisciplinary sustainability education.
As part of the CUSP model, SEI connects campus and municipal stakeholders to scope and pursue a meaningful partnership that includes…
Matching Municipalities and Campuses: SEI will identify likely partnerships based on community need and academic partner interest.
Crafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Working with the target municipality, SEI staff scope goals and projects, before vetting this with select campus faculty/staff, to pair projects with courses and to draft a MOU to which all parties commit.
Launching Student Projects: SEI arranges to have participating classes meet with appropriate municipal staff in order to receive an orientation and issues overview relevant for the particular project(s).