Sustainable Cities

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The Sustainable Cities (SC) Program intends to leverage the resources of Indiana State University towards creating more sustainable cities while providing unique experiential learning opportunities to ISU students. The SC program partners local communities with ISU faculty, students, and staff via a yearlong partnership. Local municipal staff, community members, and other key stakeholders in the community help identify comprehensive portfolio of projects that will advance the local resilience and sustainability of the community. Students work on these partner-identified projects through existing courses to provide ideas for real solutions to community challenges and sustainable development.

Button image that says 14 plus affiliated faculty Button image that says 10 plus academic departments A button image that says 20 plus unique projects 

Communities through out the Wabash Valley have leaders who want to make real change. These leaders are passionate about moving their cities forward into the future, but are often limited by lack of resources, staff, and budget. The ISU Sustainable Cities Program utilizes the innovation and energy of students and faculty to provide ideas that will address these issues. This relationship reinforces and strengthens our communities. For communities, the SC program provides linkages to moving forward community-identified sustainability goals. 

ISU and the community partner will produce tangible and relevant outcomes for the community partner while providing ISU students with real world project completion. The program utilizes a community engagement model by the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Community Network (EPIC-N) that many universities have adopted. EPIC-N emphasizes the connection between local communities and university partnerships to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Connecting local communities in the Wabash Valley to the overarching global mission to create reslient and sustainable cities will promote our students as sustainable leaders in our communities.

Partnering with SC

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Our Program

ISU launched the first year of the Sustainable Cities (SC) Program in 2020. Years of experience in community engagement and outreach at ISU bolsters the impact of this program. Undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines including business, earth and environmental systems, public administration, built environment, and more engage in projects identified by partnered cities to develop recommendations and strategies that bring together "real-world" experience and creative minds. With students involved in these experiential projects, the SC Program prepares students to enter the workforce and connected to surrounding communities. These community projects and plans will create lasting impact for years to come for the communities and students involved.

SC staff work closely with faculty and interested organizations on campus to incorproate community projects into their courses and other experiential learning opportunities, and to connect students directly to community partners. This unique partnership allows for a deep learning and innovative strategies that is wholly beneficial for the community. SC staff will work with traditional faculty-course projects, and with any unique interested parties at ISU that want to integrate the Sustainable Cities program. Students engaged in SC projects will be better prepared for the workforce and become more connected to the communities in our state. The SC Program has an everlasting impact.

Our World-Class Faculty

SC Program courses are taught by world-class faculty that are well-respected in their fields. These faculty range across a variety of departments. All are committed to integrating experiential projects that their students will be able to provide substantial contributions towards our surrounding communities. Participating faculty are trained in experiential learning and service learning pedagogy to work with our community partners, and in sustainable development concepts through the UN SDG's.

To see our current affiliated SC Faculty, visit this link.

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Engaging Partnerships

The SC Program focuses on the integration of partnerships between faculty, students, and community partners for dyanmic and engaging experiences that produce tangible results. All engaged partners benefit from this transformative experience.

CITIES: benefit from the hours of attention to experiential projects by students and faculty; the connection to services and resources at ISU; building ongoing relationships with experienced professionals at ISU; the ability to move projects forward; engagement with marginalized groups; possibility of development of material for future grant submissions; an energized staff and community; and increased public awareness and excitement.

FACULTY: benefit from new relationships in surrounding communities; connections to other faculty that are doing community engagement; administrative and planning support from SC staff; future research and publication opportunities; and more engaged and motivated students.

STUDENTS: benefit from utilizing learned knowledge to "real-world" issues and projects; gaining professional and applicable experience for future jobs; connecting to local community leaders and forming those relationship; and developing applicable skills.

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Current Partnership

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Current Partnership - The City of Marshall

The City of Marshall in Illinois is our new community partner for the 2022-23 academic year. This partnership will unite SC faculty with a great community.

The City of Marshall is the county seat of Clark County, Illinois and approximately 20 miles west of Terre Haute. The population is approximately 3,500. This is a vibrant community in the Wabash Valley and has great community leadership. Mayor John Hasten and so many community members have shown dedication to the growth of Marshall.

Participating faculty will integrate projects in partnership with city staff and community points of contacts. Students will receive real-world experiential projects and experiences that will help deepen learning and connect to career readiness competencies. Any interested faculty are encouraged to reach out and learn how you can participate in the program.



The City of Marshall and the SC program will soon host a listening session within the community to learn more about the community and potential projects for sustainable development.

The SC program would like to invite all interested students, staff, and faculty at ISU to come to one of our campus listening sessions. We especially want to invite students, staff, and faculty from Marshall to come to our listening sessions to hear about the program and provide their ideas for projects within the community.

Faculty Profiles

Ms.Katrina Babb - Sr Instructor Dir Ctr Eco Ed for the Department of Economics

During the Spring semester of 202 her Econ 351 Labor Economics class will work with the Mayor and City Clerk of Marshall, IL to develop trainings, workshops, lesson plans, and more to provide to community members that want to start a business in Marshall.


Dr. Arif Akgul - Associate Professor for the School of Criminology and Security Studies

During the Fall semester of 2022 his INAN 320 Strategic Intelligence class worked with the Mayor, Police Chief, the Sheriff, Health Department Officials, and Director of Public Works of Marshall, IL to develop a drug strategy and action plan aimed to understand and assess the local needs and create a strategic plan on drug use and the overdose problem in Marshall.


Dr. Craig Morehead - Assistant Professor for the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport

During the Fall semester of 2022 his SPM 440 Sport Facility Planning class worked with Director of Public Works of Marshall, IL to develop an indoor venue appropriate for recreation and physical activity, particularly during colder months, for all citizens of Marshall and on an outdoor complex that may serve as a venue to host tournaments and act as a mechanism for sport tourism.


Mrs. Kimberly Smith - Senior Instructor & Interior Architecture Design (IAD) Program Coordinator for the Department of Built Environment

During the Fall semester of 2022 her IAD 251 Residential Design+Bath class worked with the Marshall Public Works Technician, Joel Sims, to develop single family homes within the $100,000 price point to attract young, professional families to the Marshall community and to create more/new housing stock for potential buyers in the area, especially for families looking for modern amenities in a historic rural community.


Eric Post - Assistant Professor for the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation

During the Fall semester of 2022 his ATTR 639 Public Health in Athletic Training class worked with area health providers to perform a needs assessment on the potential costs and resources needed to provide a community-facing athletic trainer within the Marshall, IL community. In addition, they shared perspectives on how athletic trainers can provide services to serve the health needs in the Marshall community, and determined the best strategies for providing access to athletic trainers in the Marshall community.


Dr. Jim Speer - Professor for the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems 

His ENVI 460 Conservation and Sustainability class will be partnering with the Marshall, IL City Engineer and GIS Expert to conduct original research for about 30 individual student research projects where they collect data and analyze it related to community-identified issues. Proposed projects include a bike path plan, downtown revitalization, transportation initiatives, recreation opportunities, and brownfield and superfund site soil analysis and remediation plan.


Dr. Nathan Myers - Professor for the Department of Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Administration program

 One of his graduate courses in the MPA program, PA 605: Organizational Behavior in Government Agencies, is working with the city of Marshall, IL to develop an internal and external communication plan to better coordinate activities surrounding a community-wide event celebrating the upcoming eclipse in 2023. Other students in the same course are working on providing background information regarding the establishment of a community foundation in Marshall. 


Dr. Myers' PA 602: Statistical Analysis in Public Administration class will address some concerns about housing in Marshall related to the affordability of housing for younger couples, families, and individuals looking to live in the community. The class is particularly focused on how to create an affordable housing development in a manner that not only attracts younger people/families to the community, but helps the community to attract essential occupations, such as teachers and nurses. 


Students in Dr. Myers' PSCI 415/515 Public Policy class will be looking at opportunities for clean-up and re-use of multiple sites that qualify as brownfield and superfund sites and identifying funding opportunities for such work.


Dr. Maureen Casile - Assistant Professor for the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Business Education

 Her MBA 690 class partnered with Marshall, IL city officials plan two events to attract residents of surrounding communities to Marshall for the holiday season.


Past Partnership

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Previous Partnership - The City of Sullivan

The City of Sullivan was ISU Sustainable Cities' inaugural partner city during the 2020-21 academic year. The partnership was extended into the 2021-22 academic year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

The City of Sullivan has a longstanding commitment to its residents and community. The people of Sullivan show a real desire to make lasting change towards the vibrance and sustainability of their city. Through ongoing community projects such as the Sullivan Improvement Alliance, Paths to progress, and more, this city has innovative and experiential projects for our students at ISU to take on. Sullivan, IN has over 4,000 residents and is the seat in Sullivan County which has over 21,000 community members. Projects related to this partnership will help address needs identified by local officials, community members, and other partnerships.

Over two years of the program, SC and the City of Sullivan were able to integrate 21 course-based projects in partnership with 10 different faculty. Some of the projects included strategic community marketing initiatives with the downtown business association, neighborhood revitalization analyses and economic plans, neighborhood development plans, downtown gym and youth sports complex master plan concepts, and many more. Reports on these course-based projects can be found at our Report Repository.

Media Coverage



Student & Faculty Resources

Welcome to the Sustainable Cities Program!

We are commited to facilitating successful and engaging partnerships between you and our SC partner. SC Program staff work closely with faculty and community partners to incorporate community projects. We also work to provide local knowledge and deeper understandings of the issues, which guarantees that projects are innovative and fit the community needs. ISU is proud of the successful community engagement and experiential learning opportunities our faculty help provide students, and we intend to uphold this success.

At the end of each SC course, the materials and presentations should be sent to the Sustainability Coordinator to compile and create individual reports to be submitted to the city partner and publicized. Course materials do not have to reflect the report template, but should have the flexibility to fit into the structure within the report template.

Please take the time to read through the entire Faculty Guide for the SC program and find information about your role within this partnership.

Course Needs

The Center for Community Engagement is a useful resource for faculty that need creative assistance or insight into the experiential learning project integration. They can offer insight into curricular challenges with integrating these projects.The CCE is intentionally involved in the SC program to provide faculty with varying levels of experiential learning experience the direct connection to experts. 

The Faculty Center for Teaching Excellence is another resource to use when you need insight into instructional design. FCTE staff are excellent at assisting our faculty with instructional aspects to all courses and assist the SC program during the faculty seminar. They are a great resource for developing instructional strategies and identifying other resources related to instruction.

The Career Center is another resource to consult when you are looking at integrating the Career Readiness Competencies or any other career-related learning outcomes and goals. The Career Center staff can assist in aligning goals and outcomes with field-specific project ideas or instructional strategies.