Sustainable Cities

The ISU Sustainable Cities Program

The ISU alumni clock from above with a blue sky and clouds behind it

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. Students work on partner-identified projects through existing courses to provide ideas for real solutions to community challenges and sustainable development.

Communities through out Indiana 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 puts ISU reinforces and strengthens our Indiana communities.

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 the community engagement model championed by the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Community Network (EPIC-N) that many universities have adopted.


Partnering with SC

Tranforming Communities

ISU launched the first year of the Sustainable Cities (SC) Program in 2020. Years of experience in community engagement and outreach at ISU will bolster 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 Indiana communities. These community projects and plans will create lasting impact for years to come for the communities and students involved.

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

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.

speer in front of a wind turbine teaching students

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 Indiana 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 Indiana community leaders and forming those relationship; and developing applicable skills.



Current Partnership

The SC Program partnered with the city of Sullivan for its inaugural partner city.    

Drone photo of Sullivan lake with trees around the edges

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 sits 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. For a deeper look into the Sullivan community, visit our community profile that details information relevant to community needs and strengths.



In a listening session with local officials, community members, and other partnerships, many projects were identified: Generated Project Ideas

The faculty cohort identified areas they could integrate projects into their courses based on these ideas.

GIS Mapping & Wayfinding
Residential Housing Designs
Social Services & Community Needs Assessment
Renewable Energy Installation & Jobs Development Plan
Revenue Development & Financial Feasibility Plan
TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Programs
Long-Range Planning Recommendations for Start-Up Businesses
Sidewalk Condition Survey & Walkability Score/Design

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. If you have questions that are not answered here, send an email to the Sustainability Coordinator and they will help you find what you need.

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.