With support from the Climate Equity Collaborative (CEC), the Community and College Partners Program (C2P2), helps communities meet their needs while also preparing college students for climate careers. Many rural, low income, and communities of color are already under-resourced, and the growing impacts of the climate crisis only strengthen and perpetuate this inequity.
As climate-related weather anomalies have increased, the rural city of Fulton, MO has experienced increasingly common flash flood events that have damaged infrastructure, including a natural levee experiencing significant erosion. In 2022 and 2023, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) environmental studies undergraduate students – Sydney Hanning, Mariam Ziauddin, and Darren Saadat – worked with stakeholders from Fulton to research, evaluate, and recommend short-term and long-term solutions to the eroding levee. Students and community members describe the project as having a profound impact on all involved.
“The experience in Fulton, MO was a necessary and a spectacular trip to experience as a low-income senior student at UCSB. If I asked myself a year ago that this opportunity would be available, I wouldn’t have believed it. The opportunity to meet city managers who we were virtually working with, and travel on site to a location that we are researching made a tremendous difference in our understanding of the project. With the knowledge we had before without visiting, we would have recommended ineffective technology to mitigate the erosion. Now, after viewing what needs to be done, as well as understanding the perspective of people who manage these areas has helped me as an academic to view projects and environmental issues much differently. Thank you very much for the experience of traveling there as well as covering the expenses, which would have been impossible for me to acquire. I’m very appreciative of learning many life lessons from your lived experience as well!”
In 2022 and 2023, Climate Equity Collaborative member Community and College Partners Program (C2P2) has organized teams of students from four different universities - including one HBCU, Alabama A&M – and pro bono technical experts to provide a variety of project analyses and plans for the Native Village of Tyonek, Alaska, located 40 miles south of Anchorage.
The projects have ranged from developing a land use plan, modeling and analysis of wetlands restoration, designing culturally appropriate cold-weather energy efficient houses, and to design a Cultural Experience Center for the Village. These projects provide underserved communities with needed resources and support and the students with valuable real-world project experience.