BGSU, city of Sandusky create pilot partnership

Vital Communities Initiative supports public good

L-R Jane Rosser, Director, Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Instructor Laney Fugett, student Chelsea Ann Ramey, Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, George Bullerjahn, professor and Eric Wobser, Sandusky City Manager.L-R V Jane Rosser, director of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement; Instructor Laney Fugett; student Chelsea Ann Ramey; President Mary Ellen Mazey; George Bullerjahn, biological sciences; Eric Wobser, Sandusky city manager.

By Amber Stark

Andrew Kurtz, Dean, BGSU Firelands, speaks to the Sandusky community and BGSU Administration, faculty, staff and students, during the launch of the Vital Communities Initiative in Sandusky, Ohio.Andrew Kurtz, dean, BGSU Firelands, speaks to the Sandusky community and BGSU administration, faculty, staff and students during the launch of the Vital Communities Initiative in Sandusky.
Bowling Green State University and the city of Sandusky recently kicked off a pilot partnership, the Vital Communities Initiative (VCI), which aims to pair BGSU students and faculty members with Ohio communities to identify and address projects that serve the public good. VCI projects are also meant to engage students in high-impact learning, impact citizens of our region and catalyze community and University resources for sustainable, livable and vibrant communities.

“BGSU faculty members and students from a variety of majors and disciplines are prepared to bring time, creativity and expertise to address community-defined needs, issues and dreams,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “This is a great example of how our region benefits from a community-engaged, public university committed to working for the public good.”

This model links existing community-based learning courses and projects with issues and needs identified by the partner community. Once linked, faculty members design their courses around the community-identified projects, focusing students’ academic experiences to provide solutions and new ideas to address these real-world problems.

VCI partnerships are based on the reciprocal and mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and expertise. Each partner commits human, intellectual and practical resources to coordinate and guide the projects, ensuring that appropriate resources are available to make them successful and to promote and celebrate the partnership, which lasts a year.

“We are excited to celebrate our partnerships with the Firelands region and particularly the pilot partnership with the city of Sandusky,” said V Jane Rosser, director of the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement. “Engaging BGSU students and faculty in high-impact learning projects to address community issues benefits both BGSU and the region.”