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Community engagement enhances graduate education

September 19, 2018

By Jennifer McNulty

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is an ongoing tragedy. Yet just down the highway from UC Santa Cruz, numerous communities in the Salinas Valley Basin lack access to affordable clean water.

In a new model of community engagement, Environmental Studies faculty are harnessing the talent of graduate students to help change that.

Map of "disadvantaged communities" in the central California region. Red is high priority, orange is medium priority, and green is low priority.
Dozens of disadvantaged communities, most of them low-income and predominantly Latino, are coping with water supplies that don't meet current quality standards for drinking water. They truck in water or rely on expensive bottled water, according to Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Elliott Campbell. (Map courtesty of Elliott Campbell)

Associate Professor Elliott Campbell and Professor Chris Benner co-taught a Spring Quarter class to connect first-year graduate students with environmental problems in the region and to foster collaboration with off-campus stakeholders. Water in the Salinas Valley Basin is a persistent problem, and students examined the history and politics of who gets access to clean water, as well as the human impacts of inequities in the system.

Read more of this story at the UCSC news website.

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