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Office of Sustainability
The UA Community and School Garden Program is an internship-based course centered in the School of Geography and Development.
The course provides the opportunity for motivated and self-directed UA students to participate in the growing school garden movement.
School gardens are innovative and powerful educational tools for exploring local ecologies, nutrition, the culture and politics of food, and
practical life skills not limited to horticulture.
Students are trained by staff from the Community Food Bank Food Resource Center School Gardening Program and supervised by a field
coordinator and faculty member to assist a Tucson school with a garden and gardening education or to support a community garden in
one of Tucson's neighborhoods. Students are eligible for internship credit that can range from 2-6 units. Each unit of credit represents 50
hours a semester of involvement which translates into about 3 hours of internship per week. The internship includes the opportunity to
engage with students, teachers, and community members around the design and maintenance of a garden as well as weekly class meetings
around garden-related readings, videos, films, and group discussion.
The University of Arizona through the land grant mission has fostered many collaborative partnerships that address sustainability issues.
One partnership in particular to note is the Compost Cats agreements with the surrounding businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Compost Cats works with 15 businesses and nonprofits collecting compostable waste to be transformed in high quality compost. The
compost is then used on campus, by the community food bank, and the San Xavier Coop Farm. The rest is sold to interested businesses
and people at competitive rates.
This partnership started in January 2011 by a group of motivated students and has progressively grown larger to incorporate businesses,
government and nonprofit organizations. The University has supported the growth of Compost Cats through the awarding of UA Green
Fund grant funding, funding a half-time staff coordinator, and providing other administrative support for the program. In 2015, the
University signed a 3-year intergovernmental agreement with the City of Tucson, where the City of Tucson is investing $66,000 annually
to help sustain Compost Cats. This is allowing the City to bundle food waste composting into their waste services for food-related
businesses. This intensification of partnership has helped the program grow from approximately 300,000 pounds of organic waste
diversion in 2011 to an estimated 4.5 million pounds for 2016 as these business arrangements continue to grow.
Through years of collaborative work by the Renewable Energy Network at UA in partnership with the community and Tucson Electric
Power, as well as the UA TechPark's Solar Zone that is the largest multi-platform solar research installation in the US, UA has been a
leader in community engagement around energy and climate issues for some time.
More recently, President Hart signed the new Climate Commitment by Second Nature, committing UA to working closely with the
community toward climate adaptation and mitigation planning. Two UA staff/scientists have been elected to the Tucson Climate Change
Committee, which advises the Mayor and City Council on climate issues, and is working toward more comprehensive climate
commitments and plans on the part of the City. This will be a multi-year effort, but there are many ways the UA can work collaboratively
toward long-term transformative solutions to the climate and energy challenges of Tucson, and these areas of overlap will be a continued
focus of the university climate planning efforts.
As a nationally ranked environmental research institution, the University of Arizona has many partnerships that go beyond the immediate
community. One such organization that has been creating partnerships that impact distant communities is the Climate Assessment for the
Southwest (CLIMAS). CLIMAS is actively engaging communities across the western United States, tribal nations, and the US-Mexico
border region. CLIMAS develops tools and reports around the themes of adaptation and vulnerability, climate science, communication of
science, decision support, drought, economics and livelihoods, ecosystems, health and water. These reports and tools are being developed
STARS Reporting Tool | AASHE Snapshot | Page 76
for specific communities as well as for the region as a whole, and are integral to increasing the capacity of communities to adapt to
climate change, deal with drought and make decisions based upon actionable science.
For more information about CLIMAS, check out
Updated February 2016
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE
staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.