Engagement Activities

UConn Office of Public Engagement Secures Grant

Invest Health is a new initiative that brings together diverse leaders from mid-sized U.S. cities across the nation to develop new strategies for increasing and leveraging private and public investments to accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to better health. The program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Reinvestment Fund.

This initiative was developed to provide an opportunity for mid-sized cities to transform the way local leaders work together to create solution-driven and diverse partnerships. These partnerships will emphasize making changes in low-income neighborhoods to improve resident health and well-being. These changes can focus on increasing access to quality jobs, affordable housing, and nutritious food, and reducing crime rates and environmental hazards.

Read more about the grant UConn’s Office of Public Engagement secured with the City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with Community Solutions, Hartford Food System, and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

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Connecticut Magazine Profiles CLiCK

CLiCK, the Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen in Willimantic is the subject of a profile in the August issue of Connecticut Magazine. As a follow up to their article on nutrition and food service at Connecticut public schools, CLiCK’s efforts in continuing education and community partnerships is described as part of an effort to revitalize Windham County’s food culture and economy. Read the full article: CLiCK Continuing Education CT Magazine.

CLiCK hosts Agriculture Commissioner Reviczky

Doag LogoA visit to CLiCK, the Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen in Willimantic is highlighted in the July 14 issue of the Department of Agriculture’s Connecticut Weekly Agricultural Report. Commissioner Reviczky toured the facility and the community garden on the grounds of the former Knights’ of Columbus building, which now includes beehives and a composting tank, providing support for many aspects of agricultural and food production. The tour was led by CLiCK President and co-founder Phoebe Godfrey.


“We are focused on sustainability and on helping people become aware of where their food comes from, as opposed to thinking it just pops up in the supermarket,” said Godfrey, a sociology professor at UConn who teaches courses on food, climate change, sustainability and social justice. “This is a perfect place to create a food hub for the entire area.”

CliCK members were participants in the 2014 Food Justice in Windham through Community Partnerships project of the Office of Public Engagement.

OPE Welcomes AmeriCorps VISTA Member Teiana Williams

CT Campus Compact logoTeiana Williams has started her year as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member through the Connecticut Campus Compact. During this year she will work with the Office of Public Engagement and the Academy of Nursing and Health Sciences in Hartford Public Schools to expand the internship capacity of the Academy. These internships will further the experience and training Academy students receive through their rigorous academic program in nursing and health sciences so that they are prepared for collegiaAmeriCorps VISTA logote study in their field. The focus will be on developing a sustainable Internship Program with a designed database system and polished community partner relationships for use by the Academy’s guidance staff and Advisory Board.

Ms Williams will also be working to support first generation college students on the Storrs and Greater Hartford campuses of UConn through a monthly learning community developed by Dr. Carol Polifroni, Director of Engagement. UConn is committed to the diversity of its student population and currently has one of the hRelevant Reciprocal Responsible graphicighest freshman to sophomore retention rates in public universities in the country. The learning community meetings have the potential to increase retention moving the rate from very good to excellent. If the learning community is identified as a valuable contribution to this increased retention rate, the program will be incorporated into existing freshman year experience courses.

July 20-25 Is Bug Week at UConn

UConn Extension is hosting the inaugural Bug Week from July 20-25, 2015. In a full week of events, interactive programs and experiences, visitors of all ages will be able to explore the world of insects both indoors and out.

monarch on joe-pye weed
Monarch on Joe-pye weed. Photo: Pamm Cooper

Events include:

  • Cooking with Bugs
  • Spring Valley Farm
  • EEB Tour of the Insect Collections
  • CT Museum of Natural History program
  • UConn 2015 BioBlitz
  • Photo contest

Check out these and other events, and learn more about some of Connecticut’s tiny inhabitants on the official Bug Week website: www.bugs.uconn.edu.



Questions? Email bugweek@uconn.edu for more information.

Brass City/Grass Roots Exhibit Travels to UConn Campuses

The Brass City/Grass Roots Exhibit

Examines Agriculture in Waterbury

and Coincides with

2014 UConn Reads Selection


Torrington & Waterbury, CT – Agriculture in industrial Waterbury?  Sounds like an oxymoron.  And yet agriculture remained robust in the city even after the industrial revolution made Waterbury the Brass City.  A new exhibit, “Brass City/Grass Roots,” explores the many ways in which agriculture, local food processing, and local food marketing have made their mark in Waterbury over the past 150 years.

The exhibit will be at the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus from June 1 to August 1. The exhibit traveled to farmers’ markets and other local venues in a number of Waterbury’s neighborhoods during the fall of 2014.  The exhibit is open to the general public and hopefully will inspire lively discussions on the past, present, and future of local agriculture as an economic development tool, a way to revitalize neighborhoods, and a source of fresh and healthy food.  The exhibit also complements the discussions this past semester around UConn’s current book selection for its UConn Reads program.

This colorful display consists of 10 panels with historic maps, photographs, and oral history interviews done with many area residents, and has in-depth profiles of several important Waterbury farms.  A Spanish language translation of exhibit text and places for comments, questions, and stories will be included on one of the panels.

Conceived by Brass City Harvest Executive Director, Susan Pronovost, the display is based on a year and a half of research by Dr. Ruth Glasser, an urban studies and history faculty member at the University of Connecticut Waterbury Campus, along with UConn students and talented area photographers and mapmakers.  Research for this project was made possible by grants from Connecticut Humanities, the Waterbury Environmental Benefits Fund, and the Connecticut Community Foundation.  The project was funded by and was part of Connecticut at Work, a year-long conversation on the past, present and future of work life in Connecticut created by Connecticut Humanities.

The exhibit debuted on February 13, 2015 at the UConn Torrington campus library, where it featured until March 19. It then moved to the Waterbury campus library, where it was on display from March 24 to May 22 and coincided with programming around the UConn Reads selection, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. 



CONTACT:    Ruth Glasser

University of Connecticut

99 East Main Street

Waterbury, CT 06702

ruth.glasser@uconn.edu or 203-236-9921

UConn LSAMP students’ Service Learning in Peru

Jasmin Folch at the Sun Gates on Machu Picchu, Kinesiology Exercise Science ’16 (Photo by Jasmin Folch)

In May a group of fifteen UConn LSAMP students traveled to Peru to build ten functioning solar heating panels for showers in a small village of Luquina on the shores of Lake Titicaca.  The students spent five days and four nights in Luquina building solar panels, and they spent every available moment working to complete their goal of ten panels for ten homes. Each home presented its own group of challenges that the students had to overcome with the help of the local people and mentoring of Robert Erickson, an engineer for Pratt & Whitney.

For more on this service learning adventure see the full post on LSAMP. More photos are published in a July 7 post at UConn Today.


Launched initially in 2001 and reconfigured in 2003, the University of Connecticut Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholars Program is part of an alliance of New England institutions that received funding through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to strengthen the preparation, representation, and success of historically under-represented students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition to the University of Connecticut, the alliance includes the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Northeastern University, the University of Rhode Island, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.



McNair Scholars Poster Symposium


Inaugural New England McNair Scholars Program Conference for Undergraduate Researchers:

Poster Symposium

Thursday, July 23, 2015 from 4 to 5:30 PM

Wilbur Cross North Reading Room

UConn – Storrs

Representing 5 New England McNair Scholars Programs:

  • Suffolk University
  • Wesleyan University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Massachusetts-Boston
  • University of New Hampshire

For more information on the program, explore the website.