Appropriations package includes funding for UO’s Sustainable City Year Program

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced in a news release that the 2023 omnibus appropriations package that just passed in the Senate includes 145 community-initiated projects in Oregon. One of included recipients is the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP), part of the Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI), which is poised to receive $1.157 million. Retiring Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR 4) supported the inclusion of SCYP in the funding package. The package is expected to pass in the House and be signed into law by President Biden this week.

The Sustainable City Year Program leverages existing resources to create meaningful, society-wide value that benefits all parties involved. Undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines including business, planning, public administration, journalism, architecture, and more engage in the projects identified by partner cities to develop recommendations that bring the best of the creativity, freedom, and rigor of academia to the "real world." By getting students involved in real projects through their coursework, SCYP prepares students to enter the workforce and keeps talent in Oregon. Moreover, the vast majority of student outputs get incorporated into community plans and projects, creating lasting impact years into the future.

UO Professor Marc Schlossberg, Co-Director of the UO Sustainable Cities Institute, said, “By taking the classroom to the community, the UO’s Sustainable City Year Program gives students the applied workforce training that they need for future success. But the program also places the students’ education in direct service to Oregon communities and the critical societal challenges communities face, particularly around climate change and social equity. SCYP really is a win-win pairing of universities and communities. It stands as a national model of doing so. These funds will help us involve more students and reach more Oregon communities. We are grateful for the leadership of Oregon Senators Merkley and Wyden and retiring Congressman Peter DeFazio in supporting this transformational work.”

According to the news release, Senator Merkley’s position on the Appropriations Committee and the collaborative way Senators Merkley and Wyden worked together to advocate for projects from Oregon led to more Oregon projects being included than any other state except New York, home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.