Summer 2017 UCC News

May 26, 2017

To coincide with the upcoming move of the Hartford Campus to its new Downtown Location, UConn Cities Collaborative has been has been working to build a platform to aggregate and disseminate information on volunteer and internship positions within Hartford. Launching in Fall 2017, this platform will be available on the Office of Public Engagement website. The development of this platform has been a collaborative effort between many community based organizations within Hartford and UCC. If you are interested in posting a position, please follow this link and fill out the form to publicize an opportunity.

Following the interest expressed after the launch and presentation of the Diversity Training Module in Spring 2017, UCC has been working to develop a classroom based diversity curriculum for implementation in Service Learning and other courses. The Diversity Training Module was presented at the Eastern Region Campus Compact Conference hosted by New York University in March 2017. During this presentation, the need for an interdisciplinary curriculum to teach diversity in the classroom was a theme voiced by many attendees from the numerous universities represented. Starting in Fall 2017, the diversity curriculum will offer classroom-based instruction on salient issues of inequity occurring as a result of power differentials between groups of people holding minority status and those in positions of privilege. This curriculum will be available as a series of short lectures and discussions that can be utilized in and customized for any class. An implementer training is in development to assist professors who wish to incorporate this diversity curriculum into their course.


If you have any questions about the volunteer and internship platform or the developing diversity curriculum, please contact Johanna deLeyer-Tiarks at

UCC in Action: Student Partners Present Designs

April 6, 2015

In March, students from Kristin Schwab’s Environmental Planning & Landscape Design course and Peter Miniutti’s Landscape Architecture Design Capstone course presented their work to representatives from Bridgeport. David Kooris, Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development, and Jeff Leichtman, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, engaged with students in the design studio on the Storrs campus, providing critical feedback and an authentic audience for the students’ work. The plans presented shared different visions for the continued development of Bridgeport’s Eco-Technology Park, the central focus of the spring 2015 UCC collaboration between UConn and Bridgeport. The partnership continues to provide rich benefits to all involved: UConn students gain practical experience embedded in authentic contexts, while at the same time offering a wealth of knowledge and ideas to support Bridgeport’s goals.

UCC projects - spring 2015 - 1
David Kooris, Bridgeport Director of Office of Planning and Economic Development, provides feedback on a design for the Eco-Technology Park.
UCC projects - spring 2015 - 2
Jeff Leichtman, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, addresses student partners from UConn’s Landscape Architecture program.
UCC projects - spring 2015 - 3
Bridgeport representatives David Kooris and Jeff Leichtman listen intently while a student presents detailed designs for Bridgeport’s Eco-Technology Park.

Celebrating the UConn-Bridgeport UCC Partnership

January 9, 2015


UConn-Bridgeport UCC plaque presentation
Carol Polifroni, UConn Director of Public Engagement, presented Mayor Bill Finch with a plaque commemorating the inaugural UConn-Bridgeport UCC partnership during the men’s basketball game on December 22, 2014, in the Webster Bank Arena.

Representatives from the University of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport came together at Webster Bank Arena on December 22, 2014, to celebrate the launch of the 18-month inaugural UConn Cities Collaborative (UCC) partnership. A new initiative through the UConn Office of Public Engagement, UCC’s mission is to unite university and city partners in mutually beneficial relationships that are relevant, reciprocal, and responsible. Such partnerships provide opportunities for students to gain practical experience while working to address authentic needs in local communities.

A pre-game reception, presented in collaboration with the Fairfield County chapter of the UConn Alumni Association, provided an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen the UConn-Bridgeport partnership that will carry this important work forward. Attendees included Bridgeport Mayor and UConn Alumnus Bill Finch (CANR ’79), Chief of Staff Adam Wood, Deputy Chief of Staff Ruben Felipe, UConn Director of Public Engagement Carol Polifroni, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sally Reis, Vice Provost for Global Affairs Daniel Weiner, and UConn Stamford Campus Director Sharon White. Other participants included members of the UConn Cities Collaborative Steering Committee and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, as well as other university, city, and business leaders.

Following the pre-game reception, the group joined the crowd in the arena to cheer on the UConn men’s basketball team. UCC partners took the court during a break in the game, when Director of Public Engagement Carol Polifroni presented Mayor Finch with a plaque in celebration of the UConn-Bridgeport partnership.  The festive evening ended on a high note with UConn’s 80-65 victory over Columbia.

Cheering on the UConn-Bridgeport partnership
UConn cheerleaders and others joined Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and UConn Director of Public Engagement Carol Polifroni in celebrating the UCC partnership between the University of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport.


UConn-Bridgeport Partnership

October 23, 2014


Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

On Monday, October 20, representatives from the City of Bridgeport hosted a meeting with a team from the UConn Cities Collaborative (UCC) Steering Committee. UConn is excited to partner with Bridgeport for our UCC pilot semester this spring. Over the next several weeks, representatives from Bridgeport and UConn will collaborate to identify projects with a strong match to UConn courses, providing opportunities for faculty and students to provide expertise to support Bridgeport sustainability goals while also gaining real world experience.

In the photo above, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch speaks passionately about his vision for Bridgeport. He is joined by Carol Polifroni, Director of Public Engagement at the University of Connecticut (far right), and Christopher Anastasi, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Bridgeport (far left), as well as several other Bridgeport and UConn representatives.



Welcome to UConn Cities Collaborative!

September 30, 2014

The Office of Public Engagement at the University of Connecticut is celebrating the pilot year of UConn Cities Collaborative (UCC), a new initiative intended to bring together the university and local communities in partnerships that are relevant, reciprocal, and responsible. In the 2014-15 academic year, one Connecticut city will be selected to partner with UConn for a semester-long pilot program in which faculty and students will apply their expertise and gain practical experience in real world applications that benefit local communities. Please check back here for news as the project grows and develops!