After a year of planning, Dane County and the University of Wisconsin launched a $40,000 semester-long program utilizing UW professors and students to develop solutions for issues facing Dane County.

The county is funding the program, called “UniverCity Year.” It’s four areas of focus include: economic and development programs, the housing gap, frequent use of county services and management of water quality and nutrients.

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Sharon Corrigan, Dane County Board of Supervisors Chair, has played a significant role in the implementation of the partnership and has high hopes for its success.

“We hope — and anticipate — that student research and work product will lead to tangible action and changes in policy and practice in Dane County that has a direct impact on the lives of residents,” Corrigan said.

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The program matches university staff, students and courses with area governing bodies that would be positively impacted from gaining more knowledge in specific subjects. Dane County has funded the program through the end of this semester, but if more money is granted it could carry through to the spring semester.

Corrigan believes the partnership will help the Dane County Board become more financially aware in their general budget spending.

“The goal is that this work… will give county board members a better guide on how to prioritize and allocate public funds in an effective and fiscally responsible manner,” Corrigan said.