Provost’s Council for Engagement
2020 CSU Community Engagement Scholarship Award Nominees
The Distinguished award celebrates a collaboration, project or program with a long-term record of sustained impact, achievement and scholarship.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)
Partners: Nolan Doesken and Program Team (Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Atmospheric Science), National Weather Service, City of Fort Collins and over 25,000 volunteer observers, coordinators and data users
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) was founded after the devastating 1997 flash flood in Fort Collins. In that storm, over 10 inches of rain fell on the west side of town, whereas the east side received less than an inch. These variations were identified only after intensive efforts by the Colorado Climate Center, as few rain gauges were in place across town.
Thus, CoCoRaHS is based on the idea that citizens can collect high-quality precipitation observations using low-cost equipment in their backyards, schools, or other community locations. Over time, the network grew to cover all of Colorado, and eventually all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Bahamas. There are now over 25,000 active volunteer observers, reporting over 12,000 precipitation observations on average each day.
In addition to data collection, CoCoRaHS also conducts a robust education campaign, engaging schools and broad swaths of the public through presentations, webinars, online materials, and other activities. The data collected by CoCoRaHS citizen scientists are highly valued and benefit the community through their use by numerous organizations, including the National Weather Service in their forecasts and warnings, municipal water providers, farmers and ranchers, and researchers in many disciplines.
CSU Center for Public Deliberation
Partners: Dr. Martin Carcasson and Program Team (College of Liberal Arts, Communication Studies), City of Fort Collins
The CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD) serves as an impartial resource for the Northern Colorado region. At the core, we believe that everyone who may be affected by a community decision should have a meaningful opportunity to influence it.
In partnership with the City of Fort Collins, the CPD designs and runs public forums on current issues facing our city. This includes issues like housing affordability and health, the future of climate in the City and County, air quality, experiences of our aging population and youth, and more. The CPD trains undergraduate students as facilitators through CSU courses before they facilitate real-world conversations. Student note takers capture the conversation and aid in coding the data before the CPD creates a report or data visualization for the public.
Each forum serves as an experiment on the conversations needed for democracy to thrive. Through this iterative process, the CPD and the City of Fort Collins continue to improve the quality of engagement with each forum. The scholarship includes topics like stakeholder recruitment, facilitator impartiality, behavior change, attitudes and political efficacy, and impacts on diverse groups.
Colorado Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Outreach, Research and Teaching Program
Partners: Libby Bigler (College of Agricultural Sciences, Animal Sciences), Colorado Beef Council, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Livestock Association
Colorado’s beef industry includes over 2.8 million head of cattle on nearly 12,000 farms and ranches accounting for over 60% of the state’s agricultural revenue. Due to consumers’ desires to be assured about the food they purchase, Colorado’s beef producers seek to ensure that their on-ranch animal care practices are having a positive effect on animal welfare, sustainability, and the end-product quality, wholesomeness, and safety of beef.
To solve this problem, the Colorado Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Program was created by CSU and the Colorado beef industry. For nearly 20 years the program has been housed at CSU to provide cattle producers with custom-designed educational training and research outputs to enable them to provide assurance to consumers and improve end-product quality and safety.
As an instructor and BQA program coordinator at CSU, Libby Bigler has led this effort for nearly 5 years. She manages the certification of approximately 500 cattle producers annually by providing trainings, acquiring extramural funds (over $236,000 generated during her tenure), overseeing a network of BQA Trainers, communicating with 2,300 certified producers via publications and social media, teaching an undergraduate course, and supporting scholarship by coordinating applied research activities aimed at improving beef’s quality, value, and safety.
Colorado Injury Control Research Center
Partners: Lorann Stallones (College of Natural Sciences, Psychology), Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County
In Larimer County, suicide is ranked second in years of potential life lost before age 65 and is the seventh leading cause of death. The Colorado Injury Control Research Center (CICRC) at CSU has partnered with the Alliance for Suicide Prevention (ASP) of Larimer County for more than 14 years. The partnership has resulted in an important ongoing collaboration around suicide prevention.
The CICRC has a long history of community engaged research and the ASP has provided training, education, and support to raise awareness of the significant impact suicide has on Larimer County residents. The partnership has also provided graduate students the opportunity to engage in evaluation of a community program and fostered an understanding of the impact of gatekeeper training programs. In addition, the CIRC provided crucial funding that permitted the ASP to expand gatekeeper training programs.
As a result, the partners held a joint public forum to share the challenges and successes of programs targeted at raising awareness about suicide risk factors, community resources, and promoting help-seeking behaviors among school aged youth. The collaborations have resulted in important published works and has been used to seek funding to support programs for the ASP.
Ogallala Water Coordinated Agricultural Project and Republican River Basin Partners
Partners: CSU Ogallala Water CAP team (members from College of Agricultural Sciences, Office of Engagement and Extension, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado Water Center, and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory), Colorado Master Irrigator Program Advisory Committee, Republican River Water Conservation District
The CSU-led Ogallala Water Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) team, guided by a Stakeholder Advisory Board, has catalyzed new research and outreach collaborations across six states overlying the aquifer. The CSU Ogallala Water CAP team has partnered with stakeholder organizations in Eastern Colorado over the past 4 years to support programs and behavioral shifts related to agricultural water management that address the challenges of declining aquifer resources.
The CSU team’s engaged scholarship is exemplified by the partnership with the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) and the Colorado Master Irrigator Program Advisory Committee (PAC). The CAP team and the RRWCD have also partnered to develop and apply cutting edge integrated modeling approaches to evaluate policy options to extend the life of the aquifer, help meet state compact obligations, and, in turn, support regional economic vitality. Through the Colorado Master Irrigator program, CSU CAP team members from different disciplines, including soil science, economics, engineering, and irrigation technology, are sharing the latest science and application of advanced water management concepts and tools with Republican River Basin producers. The partnership has leveraged additional support to improve accessibility and incentive opportunities for producers to translate this learning into broader adoption of water conservation strategies.
Parks as Portals to Learning Field Workshop
Partners: Dr. Jared Orsi and Program Team (College of Liberal Arts, Public Lands History Center), Continental Divide Research Learning Center - Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain High School, Berthoud High School
Begun in 2013, Parks as Portals to Learning (PPL) is an annual week-long field workshop. A collaborative program between the CSU Department of History’s Public Lands History Center (PLHC) and the Continental Divide Research Learning Center (CDRLC) at Rocky Mountain National Park, PPL links academic knowledge and park resource management, thereby benefitting both the park and the PLHC. Student participants live in the park for a week. There, they are exposed to a resource management challenge and envision ways that they can apply the skills of historians to manage that issue.
The PLHC selects the workshop’s focus through consultation with the park. Past research has included the ecological and historical interpretation of Moraine Park, elk-vegetation dynamics, and the park’s response to rising visitation numbers. At PPL, students interact with park staff and combine traditional historical research methods with fieldwork to create innovative recommendations. They disseminate their findings in management briefs and formal presentations to park staff.
PPL has also occasionally resulted in public-facing deliverables including an interactive Story Map (2016), news article (2017), and published book (2018). In 2019, the workshop gained additional community partners by including teachers and student participants from Berthoud High School and Rocky Mountain High School.
Saving Animals in Shelters by Teaching
Partners: Catriona M. MacPhail (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences), Humane Society of Boulder Valley
The Saving Animals in Shelters through Teaching (SAST) program enrolls unowned animals from regional shelters and rescues with curable, surgically-correctable conditions. These animals are treated at the CSU-Veterinary Teaching Hospital (CSU-VTH) through volunteerism, funding from industry and private donations, and support from the CSU-VTH administration.
SAST enrolls approximately 50 to 75 dogs and cats per year to undergo simple fracture repair, ophthalmologic procedures, dentistry procedures, limb amputations, or correction of treatable congenital conditions. These surgical procedures are performed by residents, interns, and senior veterinary students, and are supervised by supporting faculty. Hundreds of shelter animals that may have otherwise been euthanized due to limited resources and expertise have been treated and re-homed over the last 6 years.
In addition, this program provides the invaluable opportunity for additional hands-on surgical training for young veterinarians and future veterinarians. Each case helps train at least 3 people (students, interns, residents).
The Emerging award celebrates a new initiative that has shown potential for long-term impact, achievement and scholarship.
Colorado Blueprint for Food and Agriculture
Partners: Dawn Thilmany, Gregory Graff and Becca Jablonski (College of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural and Resource Economics; CSU Extension), Live Well Colorado, Colorado Department of Agriculture – Markets Division, Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council
Over the past several decades, Colorado has experienced tremendous expansion in the number of organizations, government programs, and CSU initiatives working to address issues surrounding agricultural and food systems. To support better coordination across these various organizations, programs, investments or activities, The Colorado Blueprint for Food and Agriculture was launched in 2016 when several partners realized they were all embarking on strategic planning and visioning discussions, that could benefit from less siloed activities.
What ensued was an applied research and community engagement process called “The Colorado Blueprint for Food and Agriculture”, a collaborative effort between CSU’s College of Agriculture, Extension and Ag Experiment Station, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council, and LiveWell Colorado. Concomitantly, food access and security focused organizations across the state came together to create a Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. Fortunately, overlap in the membership of the two Blueprints allowed important synergies to emerge and has guided planned future work.
Subsequently, this Blueprint and linkages to other efforts resulted in better cohesion across partners throughout Colorado’s entire food system (spanning from natural resources to issues of food access and security), evidenced by collaboration on several new projects including significant funding.
Cottonwood Community Garden and Bilingual Education Series
Partners: Abiya Saeed and Kaycee Manuppella (CSU Extension), Garfield Healthy Communities Coalition, Cottonwood View Apartments
There is an ongoing need to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and in Garfield County this need was recognized in a particular community. Garfield County’s Extension Agents Abi Saeed and Kaycee Manuppella targeted the housing community of Cottonwood Apartments in Parachute, Colorado, with the goal of achieving authentic community collaboration in order to meet the perceived need of limited access to fresh produce.
The residents of the Cottonwood Apartment Complex comprise a diverse population, from culture and language background to socioeconomic status, from young to old and many other factors.
Abi and Kaycee worked with various community partners in order to achieve their goals. To begin, the physical space was provided in partnership with the housing company by converting the complex’s abandoned swimming pool into a garden site. Funding was sought through a grant opportunity with Garfield Healthy Communities Coalition, managed through the Garfield County Health Department. Donations from community partners, businesses and individuals alike, were provided in the form of soil, seedlings, raised bed materials, shop space and tools, and of course, time. Volunteers were activated from within Garfield County’s force of Colorado Master Gardeners and 4-H Leaders and members. Partnerships created success.
CSU in South Africa - Positive pathways from education to impact: Highlighting a unique partnership among Communities and Conservation, Pivotal Places and The Tshulu Trust
Partners: Dr. David Bunn (College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology) and Dr. Melissa McHale (Warner College of Natural Resources, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability), Pivotal Places, Tshulu Trust
This is a unique, trilateral partnership between CSU’s Communities and Conservation in South Africa study abroad program, Pivotal Places, a CSU student-led non-profit that emerged from that same program, and the Tshulu Trust, a local community organization that runs a research base in one of the remotest regions of rural South Africa, close to the Zimbabwe border.
In this innovative engagement, professors David Bunn and Melissa McHale lead CSU student groups in collaborative research work with emergent black South African environmental leaders in the Hamakuya region. Working in partnership with rural South African youths and traditional leaders on a variety of long-term action research projects (ranging from water quality testing, to food security, to the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict), students return to the US with a deeper understanding of the complexity of rural livelihoods and sustainability in the Global South. They then apply this understanding in two distinct ways: in refining and expanding the research programs, sometimes allowing for student researchers to return to South Africa; and the development of targeted donations aimed at intervening in support of solutions.
Inclusive Health Collaborative with Community Practice
Partners: Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, Janelle Scott (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences) and Paula Yuma (College of Health and Human Sciences, School of Social Work), The Street Dog Coalition, Homeward Alliance
Pet ownership contributes to emotional and physical well-being. For people experiencing homelessness, this relationship can be the most important. Barriers to the care and health of these pets includes transportation, language and financial limitations. Consolidation of services into a single location is one method to improve service availability.
Since 2011 and 2013, the Community Practice Service in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital has conducted veterinary clinics in conjunction with Homeless Connect, a services event in Fort Collins and Loveland, respectively. However, these events are just once per year leaving a gap in care. To alleviate this gap, Community Practice has partnered with Street Dog Coalition (SDC) to offer these services weekly. Clinics started in May 2019.
This collaboration includes CSU faculty, veterinary students and social work professionals in conjunction with Street Dog Coalition volunteers to provide exceptional veterinary care and client support. In addition to honing basic veterinary skills and knowledge, veterinary students are learning about barriers to care and options the profession may offer to offset these barriers. The group is looking at additional research surrounding populations needs and the needs of those providing services, in addition to best practices for delivering service.
Larimer County Community Corrections Fitness Program
Partners: Richard Allen Perry (College of Health and Human Sciences, Health and Exercise Science), Larimer County Community Corrections: Alternative Sentencing Department
Recidivism is the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend. The occurrence of recidivism and re-incarceration in America is 67.8% within three years of being released from a corrections facility, and 76.6% within five years of being released. The major health statuses and behaviors linked to recidivism are substance dependence, mental illness, sedentary behavior, and obesity and the presence of other chronic illnesses. Physical activity and exercise have been shown to directly or indirectly positively affect all four of these major contributors of recidivism.
Therefore, the overarching objective of this outreach is to reduce recidivism rates of the offender population at Larimer County Community Corrections (LCCC) through the direct and indirect benefits of physical activity and exercise provided through fitness classes taught by CSU HES majors.
To track progress toward this goal, both partners will utilize appropriate resources: the LCCC will report overall rates of repeat offenders from the initiation of the fitness program, and HES will utilize surveys and interviews to monitor substance use and physical activity behavior of current and former offenders who participated in fitness classes. Data collected on the effectiveness of these fitness classes to reduce recidivism rates will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Market Days! for Older Adults at the Larimer County Farmers’ Market
Partners: Alison S. O’Connor (CSU Extension, Larimer County; College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture), Sue Schneider and Emily Alligood (CSU Extension, Larimer County), Larimer County Farmers’ Market, Partnership for Age Friendly Communities, Senior Access Points, Fort Collins Housing Catalyst
The Market Days! for Older Adults project was initiated in 2019 to provide incentives for older, low-income adults to visit the Larimer County Farmers’ Market (LCFM), with goals of making healthy food affordable and accessible, as well as providing opportunities for intergenerational social interaction with family, friends, vendors, and community partners.
Research shows that 20% of older adults can experience some level of social isolation from family or friends (due to transportation and financial barriers), and that older adults on restricted budgets experience limited access to fresh produce. In its first year, the 163 participants in the Market Days! program reported a 35% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption. The LCFM vendors/farmers also benefited from the program, selling an additional $5,693 in produce.
The LCFM and its Market Days! for Older Adults program is an example of CSU Extension programming that provides the Fort Collins community with education, intergenerational social opportunities, agricultural connections, and healthy, affordable, and accessible food options – via its relationships with farmers, producers, artisans, and community partners working together to address food insecurity. The oldest farmers’ market in Northern Colorado, the LCFM has been continuously operated by CSU Extension in Larimer County since 1975.
The Pollinator, Native Plant and Water Conservation Education and Outreach Initiative
Partners: Lisa Mason and Lucinda Greene (CSU Extension, Arapahoe County), Arapahoe County Government
The Pollinator, Native Plant and Water Conservation Education and Outreach Initiative is a community engagement initiative in Arapahoe County with three focus areas: 1) The Lima Plaza Pollinator Demonstration Garden, 2) Native Bee Watch Citizen Science Monitoring, and 3) Native plant and pollinator education.
The project started due to a dramatic decline in pollinators (especially bees), an overall rise in temperatures resulting in drier conditions in Colorado, and the significant growth in residential development resulting in a higher demand for water for both people and plants.
The partnership between CSU and Arapahoe County Government focused on sustainability, education, and research that mutually benefit county residents and CSU. This research-based initiative, the first of its kind in the county, is being used as a teaching tool and sounding board for community members to be empowered to make landscaping choices that are ecologically conscious, conserve water and support pollinators. These efforts proactively address community issues that can only be solved cooperatively with residents, county resources and CSU horticulture expertise.
Project progress is tracked through e-newsletters (AC Weekly, Garden Buzz), CSUE websites, Facebook and NextDoor, ecological data collected through citizen science, social data collected through evaluations and surveys, and other established metrics.
Youth Action Group and Youth Memory Project
Partners: Dr. Chrissy Chard (Colorado School of Public Health at CSU, Health and Exercise Science), Tiana Nelson and Sarah Miley (CSU System), Bruce Randolph School, History Colorado
In an effort to elevate the voice of youth around the CSU Spur campus and the larger National Western Center (NWC), the project’s partners came together to financially support the CSU System-led creation of a Youth Action Group (YAG). The YAG will be a cohort of about a dozen high school students selected in spring 2020, who will be compensated for their time and effort.
The YAG will identify a project related to the NWC that will solve community needs, expose students to real planning processes, and deepen community connection to the site. We will guide students through their self-identified project and facilitate connections with partner organizations.
The first phase of YAG, the Youth Memory Project (YMP), was a storytelling project completed in Fall 2019 through a partnership with CSU and History Colorado, and a grant from the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative. Students at Bruce Randolph High School explored oral history as a practice in reanimating the community history of place. They interviewed peers, neighbors, and family; transcribed the interviews; and learned to represent important themes through words and art. As the neighborhoods around the school face change, the work of the YMP also serves as a community-driven neighborhood assessment for YAG’s future work.
Award winners will be announced at the Celebrate! Colorado State Awards on April 16 at 3 pm in the Lory Student Center.