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Community Engagement Incentive Grant: Brad Collett, Gale Fulton, and Valerie Friedmann

Tennessee Sustainability Coordination Planning and Engagement


Assistant Professor for the Department of Plant Sciences Brad Collett received a 2013-14 Outreach and Engagement Incentive Grant for his project, Tennessee Sustainability Coordination Planning and Engagement (T-SCaPE.)

Collett’s proposal called for a summit of key players in sustainability activities to better coordinate efforts between University of Tennessee Landscape Architecture Programs and community partners.

Brad Collett

Brad Collett

“The expertise and capacity of University programs, including Landscape Architecture, align well with the challenges and technical assistance needs of communities across the state, opening opportunities for future engagement projects and research,” Collett said.

Collett and his colleagues, Gale Fulton and Valerie Friedmann of UT’s LAP, developed a plan for organizing communication between different sustainability agencies within the state. A summit meeting facilitated inter-organizational communication for planning and community development, and involved area planners, developers and organizers.

“Each sustainable planning initiative participating in this project further involves the voice of the community,” said Collett.

Gale Fulton (left) and Valerie Friedmann (right)

Gale Fulton (left) and Valerie Friedmann (right)

Through hosting the T-SCaPE summit, LAP representatives were able to network with officials from Tennessee Region’s Roundtable Network,  along with units across UT including UT Service Learning, the Department of Political Science, the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, and Arts and Sciences/Sustainability.

Collett also used the summit as an opportunity to promote UT’s new Smart Communities Initiative to a state-wide audience.  The SCI is an interdisciplinary program that partners faculty and students across campus with cities, counties, special districts and other municipal groups to engage in real-world problem solving aimed at increasing the level of economic viability, environmental sustainability and social integrity of the region.

“The T-SCaPE project will continue to be cultivated so as to identify and execute mutually beneficial, meaningful collaboration opportunities,” Collett said.

He said the project will enhance students’ educational experiences and faculty research programs through providing students with internships and work study connections with TNRRN, as well as research opportunities with Environmental Lab Design and the Smart Communities Initiative.

“We believe that greater coordination, initiated through the activities funded by this grant, can greatly increase the overall effectiveness of sustainability activities across the state,” said Collett.