Campus-Community Structure Tips

This post was written by Climate Programs Intern Makaylah Respicio

Many campuses are in the process of establishing their campus-community structures to achieve the goals outlined in the Climate and Resilience Commitments. The goal of the campus-community structure is to share ideas, pool resources, and synchronize efforts in resilience planning. There are a variety of successful ways to bring together members from on and off campus stakeholders to achieve great collaboration and progress. It is important for each campus to find what type of structure may work best for them when taking into account available resources, relationships with the community, existing committees, etc.

Here are some areas for consideration as you navigate the complex task of forming your campus-community structure.

Logistics: The size of the committee and frequency of meetings will be critical to ensure progress. The group should meet frequently enough to have high participation and to build on previous conversations. Committee size should be a balance between adequate representation from a diverse set of stakeholders and capability for high group functionality and efficiency.

Community Engagement: When selecting representatives and organizations for participation in a school’s campus-community structure, be mindful of the demographics that will be impacted by climate change or the policies. To many schools, the local municipality is a clear choice to include in these discussions, but it is also critical to engage with community leaders from non-profits, neighborhood organizations, schools, etc. For examples of good organizations to reach out to, check out CSU Long Beach’s Network Map of their Campus-Community Coalition (page 116).

Campus Support: Second Nature works closely with senior leadership and would like to emphasize the importance of having senior-level administration involved in the campus-community structure. Examples may be the president/chancellor, provost, and/or vice president(s). Additionally, consider how the structure may interact with other committees on campus that may be working on similar issues. Groups to coordinate with may include facilities, crisis management, student government, or environment center.

Goals: Goal-setting is a crucial element of resilience action planning that can help guide the work of the campus-community structure moving forward. Second Nature has outlined five dimensions of resilience that should be examined in the resilience assessment: Social Equity and Governance, Health and Wellness, Ecosystem Services, Infrastructure, and Economics. Use these areas to develop the objectives of a resilience-focused group or to help determine how resilience fits into the scope of work of a currently existing committee. It can also be helpful to begin exploring metrics to assess the success of a program over time. For examples of the types of resilience goals to consider, look at University of Maryland Baltimore’s Resilience Strategies and Objectives (page 2).

Second Nature has comprised a quick overview for Campus-Community Structure.