Goal: connect students with their local neighborhoods to assess resilience of physical and socioeconomic infrastructure.

How We Got Here

One of the more ambitious (and flexible) parts of our Strategic Plan from 2013 is the creation of a flagship projects initiative – something that helps define ESW’s role and gives all parts of the ESW network a way to work towards a central topic. The Big Idea Committee is our internal name for the group that’s spent the last year reflecting, seeking input, ideating, and refining possibilities for the overall topic (around the principle of Big Hairy Audacious Goals and the Bigger Game) and an initial program for launch. We didn’t know what to call it at first because we didn’t have a topic in mind, so the Big Idea name stuck. It’s time to put what’s in progress in public sight.

Next Steps

If “sustainable and resilient communities” is the central trunk (the Big Idea), then the branches are individual programs. The first of these will be called the Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge (CommUnity for short), and will challenge student teams to work with community organizations and individuals to assess the resilience of local infrastructure – again, both physical and socioeconomic – and jointly propose improvements in one area. The goal isn’t to immediately implement projects, but to build relationships between universities and communities that bring value to both sides.