The UniverCity Alliance launched a partnership with the city of Monona Wednesday at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center to engage students in the city’s developmental projects.
UniverCity Year is a year-long partnership with the nearby community designed to help improve the city, according to its website.
The alliance includes representatives from University of Wisconsin’s Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Global Health Institute, Institute for Research on Poverty, Morgridge Center for Public Service, the Nelson Institute, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and UW Extension.
The program makes students and faculty in classes at UW available to help projects in the city, Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute, said.
Mayor of Monona Bob Miller said he is excited to start the project.
“Making a city great takes a little more than a village, it helps to have a great university too,” Miller said. “They are going to make a great city even greater.”
He said there was overwhelming support from the Monona City Council on the project.
Sarah Mangelsdorf, UW provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said when she first heard of the initiative, she thought it was a promising project for the university.
The UniverCity project is a “great example” of the Wisconsin Idea, which stresses the importance of education influencing the lives of others beyond the classroom, Mangelsdorf said.
“I have never been at a university that has the notion of outreach so embedded in everything that we do,” Mangelsdorf said. “This is such a wonderful learning opportunity for our students.”
She said the City of Monona will assign UW classes to the UniverCity projects. There are four main areas where the university will be working with the City of Monona: housing and economic development, parks and recreation, transportation and a digital resource development initiative.
The UniverCity project will work with Monona throughout the next year through fall, spring and summer cross-disciplinary courses.
“This partnership is being watched across the state and shows the leadership of this municipality,” Robbins said.