WELCOME TO THE COMMUNITY BRIDGE INITIATIVE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM!
The Community Bridge Initiative (CBI), offered through the USU Center for Community Engagement (CCE), is a model for building reciprocal campus-community partnerships. The model enables students to utilize knowledge obtained in the classroom to tackle real-world problems identified by the community. Courses are matched with community-identified projects, and students work with community leaders to define meaningful solutions, develop action plans, and implement projects directly relevant to their course curriculum. As a result, students are given greater depth to their course content and come away with the experience of addressing locally relevant issues. Through this partnership model, we hope to bridge the gap between campus and community to create a healthier, safer, and more sustainable future for us all.
By becoming an official CBI Partner, the USU CCE can work to leverage university resources to address community needs defined by you. Community partners act as co-educators in Community-Engaged Learning courses, assisting in orientation to the community project, teaching professional development skills, and helping foster a commitment to civic engagement. To become an official CBI partner, organizations must register with the CCE and complete a simple MOU. Becoming a registered CBI partner signifies that your organization offers high-quality community engagement opportunities to students. USU students and professors know that your organization offers a safe environment at which to volunteer and that your mission and core values align with CCE's learning objectives.
CBI Partnership Classifications
Agencies that sign up for the Basic Partnership level will be eligible for support from students interested in volunteering with local community partners. These partners will be assigned an AggieSync portal where they can post their volunteer needs and opportunities, have access to students who are interested in one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities, and track student engagement with their agency. This level is ideal for agencies that have not partnered with the University in the past or do not have the capacity to work with a class over a 12-week semester. Basic Partners who are interested in increasing their involvement at a later time can always change their partnership level to Bridge Builder.
BRIDGE BUILDER PARTNERSHIP:
Bridge Builder partners are those who are interested in working with a Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) class to complete community projects. Partners who sign up at this level are eligible to submit project proposals at any time, and we encourage partners to request project suggestions from their staff. The Executive Director (or equivalent) of the partnering organization will collect the project applications from their staff and determine highest priority needs. Once high-need project proposals are submitted to the CCE program, we will work to match projects with faculty and courses. Although CCE cannot guarentee there will always be a classroom match for all projects proposed, we will do our best to match university resources to projects defined by the community.
Bridge Builder Partners have access to faculty with expertise in their field, support from students with skills and knowledge directly related to the agency's work, and the opportunity to host student internships. Like Basic Partners, Bridge Builders will also be given an AggieSync portal through which they can match with students, faculty, or courses, publicize upcoming events or service needs, and track involvement and impact of student engagement.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
To protect community partners, students and faulty, all community partners are required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University. This document also signed by a USU representative, provides legal protection for faculty and students while they are on-site completing service activities. It also outlines the benefits and expectations of being a CBI community partner.
What can a CBI Partner Expect?
Experiences from other cities that have participated in similar programs in five cities throughout the nation indicate that USU's CBI partners can expect:
- Increased capacity
- Cutting edge ideas
- A fresh look at projects
- Added breadth to the project - several disciplines may look at a project for a unique outcome
- Opportunity to increase student civic engagement – the leaders of tomorrow
- A chance to test something new and look at riskier solutions without investing resources
- Help with moving stalled/stuck projects forward
- Increased energy (internally and as external engagement)
- Positive press
- Professional Reports
- More qualified and experienced future job applicants
- Possible additional training for staff
- Stronger connections to minority populations and creation of awareness and sensitivity about assets in community
- Progression of ideas to be used for years to come
What will NOT happen:
- Students will not replace consultants. Instead, they expand the conversation.
- 100% excellent and usable work – there will be a range, but that range will include excellent work.
To learn more about the Community Bridge Initiative reciprocal partnership program and opportunities to become a registered community partner, please contact the Center for Community Engagement email@example.com or call 435.797.9681