Community Based Action Research Teams

Research_Teams 
Take an active role in community progress with NAU’s Action Research Teams.
A collaborative initiative launched in the Fall of 2009, the ARTS practice community stewardship by placing students in the real world in hopes of affecting change.
Read more and watch videos explaining the vision and work of the Action Research Teams.

The teams

The ARTS combine Sustainable Communities graduate students and undergraduate students in their first year of college in action research teams.  The teams collaborate with community partners on and off campus and focus on a wide variety of public issues and community needs. These teams include:

  1.  Public Achievement 
  2. Weatherization and Community Building Action Team (WACBAT)
  3. Action Group for Water Advocacy (AGWA)
  4.  Immigration
  5. Sustainable Living and Urban Gardening (SSLUG)
  6. Flagstaff Foodlink: Community Gardens
  7. Flagstaff Foodlink: School Gardens
  8. Health Education About Lifestyles and Therapies Holístico (H.E.A.L.T.H.)
  9. Art Through all Mediums (ATAM)
  10. Queer and Ally (Q&A)
  11. New Economy Northern Arizona (NENAU)
  12. Students Nurturing Alternatives in Landscaping (SNAIL)
  13. VeloComposting

Graduate students mentor undergraduates, and through their practice together, they learn the arts of collaborative community organizing.

Degree requirement

If you are a SUS graduate student, you are required to dedicate one school year (three hours per week) to your chosen ART.

Public Achievement

 

Watch Video: Public Achievement Kinlani Dorm

Video Accessibility Instructions:

These video instructions are located directy above a YouTube video. Hit the DOWN arrow key until you hear the words FLASH START. Once the screen reader is inside the FLASH OBJECT, hit the TAB key about 7 times until you hear PLAY BUTTON a second time. Hit the Spacebar key to play the video. You can then hit the Spacebar key again to pause the video. Feel free to hit TAB and TAB+SHIFT to listen to all the buttons in the FLASH OBJECT. Sometimes the PLAY button and the PAUSE button will be listed as an UNLABLED BUTTON.

Read more

SUS graduate students coach fourth through sixth graders at Killip Elementary School on how to address issues the younger students are concerned about.
In the process, they learn the skills and practices to become the next generation of leaders who exercise stewardship for common goods.
In the pilot project students picked issues like:

  • cleaning up a park
  • planting a garden
  • mural design
  • transforming a run-down alley into a community park with fruit trees, murals, a basketball court, and benches

The possibilities are endless.
In the process of coaching PA teams, coaches develop leadership skills and learn a tremendous amount about:

  • democracy
  • diverse cultures
  •  team-building
  • cultivating agency to enhance public goods
Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Weatherization and Community Building Action Team (WACBAT)

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Students work in a collaborative network, exercising leadership to weatherize homes as well as cultivate community relationships and capacities for environmental stewardship more generally.
This project focuses on working with Flagstaff’s private and public sectors in organizing people in Sunnyside and Southside (Flagstaff’s two poorest neighborhoods) around home weatherization and retrofitting.
Team members work with the city, county, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) (the preexisting retrofitting and weatherization providers in Flagstaff), as well as community centers and private sector energy efficiency firms, to increase awareness of and education about these opportunities.
The most important part of this effort is working with the residents on increasing their awareness and creating a culture of environmental stewardship within Flagstaff in an economically sensible way.
WACBAT attracts environmentally-minded students, faculty, and staff who want to start making an environmental difference now.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Action Group for Water Advocacy (AGWA)

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The Action Group for Water Advocacy (AGWA) brings together Friends of Flagstaff Future members and Friends of Flagstaff Future’s NAU Student Chapter, freshmen from the SEED Learning Community, graduate students from the MA Sustainable Communities Program, and community members to address one of Flagstaff’s most pressing and often controversial concerns: water use.
Especially in the arid Southwest, water is life. AGWA takes on this crucial issue, examining the local and regional implications of the world water crisis, exploring current water use questions, and supporting local efforts to use water more sustainably.
Both on and off-campus, AGWA helps community members access and benefit from water-saving strategies and innovations:

  • switching from bottled water to “Taking Back the Tap”
  • harvesting rain water
  • employing permaculture landscaping and urban-agricultural techniques
  • creating responsible local water-use policies

This team strives to better understand the roots of water issues in Flagstaff and works actively toward resolving them in an inclusive, collaborative way. 

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Immigration

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A partnership between the Program in Community, Culture, and Environment’s Sustainable Environments and Engaged Democracy (SEED) Freshman Learning Community, the Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities (SUS), and the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council.  

Students_working_near_fence
Students on this team work with a dynamic and broad-based group to enhance understanding, respect, improved relationships, and collaborations that nurture a community of freedom, equality, and democratic community engagements between new immigrants and American citizens.
The primary objective of the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council (NAIC) is to build civic leadership by teaching people the skills and practices of public life and the tools for building power for change.
In Flagstaff, NAIC’s recent work has focused on:

  • integration of new immigrants and immigration policy reform
  • organizing parents and students for improvements at low income schools
  • developing a strong coalition to fight state budget cuts and advocate for tax reform

Student_outside_with_milk_jugs
NAIC is non-partisan, and works to hold public officials from both political parties accountable for their actions.
All students working with NAIC have the opportunity to participate in leadership training to learn the basic skills of organizing. They put these skills to use in helping advance the issues identified by NAIC leaders, particularly around immigration.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Sustainable Living and Urban Gardening (SSLUG)

 

Watch Video: SSLUG Garden

Video Accessibility Instructions:

These video instructions are located directy above a YouTube video. Hit the DOWN arrow key until you hear the words FLASH START. Once the screen reader is inside the FLASH OBJECT, hit the TAB key about 7 times until you hear PLAY BUTTON a second time. Hit the Spacebar key to play the video. You can then hit the Spacebar key again to pause the video. Feel free to hit TAB and TAB+SHIFT to listen to all the buttons in the FLASH OBJECT. Sometimes the PLAY button and the PAUSE button will be listed as an UNLABLED BUTTON.

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SSLUG is an Northern Arizona University student group focused on maintaining a garden demonstration site and advocating for food justice on the  campus.  
Students involved with SSLUG work on campus and in the Flagstaff community to promote practices such as:

  • community gardening
  • fruit tree planting
  • composting
  •  research on traditional agricultural practices

Additionally, students work to enhance the collaborations between SSLUG’s efforts and those in the broader community, in particular Native Movement’s Urban Lifeways Project.
The SSLUG garden is maintained by a core of student volunteers, and organized by a coordinator. They maintain regular workdays, open to the public, where participants can learn about growing food in Flagstaff and take home food.
The garden hosts heirloom annual food crops, climate appropriate fruit trees, native shrubs and flowers, rainwater harvesting, sunken and raised beds, a cold frame, composting, and intercropping techniques.  The overall garden design is influenced by southwest indigenous agriculture and permaculture design.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Flagstaff Foodlink

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A partnership between the Program in Community, Culture & Environment’s Sustainable Environments and Engaged Democracy (SEED) Freshman Learning Community, the Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities (SUS) and Flagstaff Foodlink.
Students on this team work to catalyze a profound change in the way we produce, consume, and value local and regional foods in the Flagstaff region.
The team is working to assemble a broad and diverse Community Food Task Force that will assess Flagstaff food security needs and facilitate policy changes to influence how the local food system:

  • impacts the health of Flagstaff residents
  • addresses hunger and food insecurity
  • supports a food system that is economically viable, socially just and environmentally sustainable

Flagstaff Foodlink believes there are abundant opportunities to connect farmers, ranchers, restaurateurs, food distributors and sellers, the general public, community organizations, and the governments of the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County into a more democratic food network to encourage:

  • local economic self-sufficiency
  •  community and individual health
  •  greater food security
  • energy-conserving agricultural practices

Students on this team put their relational skills to work as they engage with members of Flagstaff Foodlink to assemble a strong, diverse and enthused Community Food Task Force.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Flagstaff Foodlink: School Gardens

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A partnership between Flagstaff Foodlink and the Flagstaff Unified School District. 
This action research team adds to the burgeoning school gardens movement in the Flagstaff Unified School District and across the country. The School Gardens ART is helping the rising generation toward better food security through urban gardening.
Students on this team work in groups of three or four at three different public elementary schools in the district. At their schools, they will join the larger School Garden Sustainable Dreams Team. This Team includes Master Gardeners, parents, teachers, and students.
The nature of their work will depend on each school's culture, visions, and needs as well as on student initiative and vision.
Many schools will be using a new interdisciplinary garden curriculum tied to state standards that engages students’ math, science, arts, and language skills while teaching students the wonder of becoming native to place.
By creating sustainable agriculture curricula for Flagstaff schools and supporting school gardens, convening members of the Flagstaff food system on a regular basis, and channeling funding opportunities to food system innovators, Flagstaff Foodlink can catalyze profound change in the way we produce, consume, and value local foods in Flagstaff.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Sustainability Café

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This action team works with students in several other organizations to research and initiate the creation of a public space and café where students, faculty, and staff regularly meet to discuss pertinent issues, engage speakers, organize deliberation and action, and more.
Team members are interested in the idea of creating a sustainable café on campus that would provide space for the above interactions and be based on fair trade, organic, and locally grown food (some in the café itself).
Imagine a public space that is both appealing and the site of regular informal presentations by and with knowledgeable individuals on a wide range of issues, a place where artistic projects relating to such issues might be displayed, performed, and acted.
Imagine a public space where campus organizations frequently meet to discuss vision and plan action. Imagine a very cool place that students designed, run, organize – or simply relax.
This is a great project for students who wish to get involved in campus networks and make lasting changes at Northern Arizona University.

Contact

For more information, please contact: (information coming soon.) 

Velo-Composting

 

Watch Video: Velo-Composting

Video Accessibility Instructions:

These video instructions are located directy above a YouTube video. Hit the DOWN arrow key until you hear the words FLASH START. Once the screen reader is inside the FLASH OBJECT, hit the TAB key about 7 times until you hear PLAY BUTTON a second time. Hit the Spacebar key to play the video. You can then hit the Spacebar key again to pause the video. Feel free to hit TAB and TAB+SHIFT to listen to all the buttons in the FLASH OBJECT. Sometimes the PLAY button and the PAUSE button will be listed as an UNLABLED BUTTON.

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The VeloComposting aims to divert the waste stream of dining halls and cafe spaces on the NAU campus. It will play a key role in providing material for the creation of high quality compost in the gardens of NAU. The program will be developed and operated by its participants, with the intention of creating confident, competent and active members of the community.
VeloComposting began as a collaborative idea between Patrick Pfeifer, Jacob Dolence, and Adam Davidson. The Green Fund was solicited for funds through its grant program and enabled the startup of VeloComposting in February, 2012. The program was slated as an extension of the Students for Sustainable Living and Urban Gardening (SSLUG) Action Research Team (ART), in collaboration with Local FARE, FoodLink and the Composting sub-committee of SSLUG.