University of Iowa

IISC Spring Update

Strong relationships with community partners and a deep understanding of local needs are significant benefits the IISC brings to students as they venture out to work on projects in Mason City and East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA) this spring. Whether student groups are entering the second phase of year-long capstone projects, or collaborating with IISC partners for the first time, they benefit from our experiences built over time as the IISC enters the final semester of two-year partnerships with these communities. 

In Mason City, projects include affordable housing finance and design projects, strategic communications for Main Street Mason City, marketing and branding for the North End commercial district, and more. We’re looking forward to a North End neighborhood “block party” that builds social capital, overcomes negative perceptions, and highlights the quality work done by groups of UI students from Public Health, Planning, Engineering, and Marketing. 

For the ECIA partnership, projects include legal analysis of an innovative affordable housing development tool completely new to Iowa, community development through video storytelling along the Grant Wood Loop, and inventory and retail management strategies for a nonprofit thrift store and food bank in DeWitt. Last semester's IISC project with the College of Engineering, exploring wastewater treatment alternatives for Lake Delhi residents, was picked up by the Associated Press and shared in news outlets all across the country (see photo).

In total, the IISC will have supported 30 engagement projects in Iowa communities this academic year, involving hundreds of UI students, faculty, and staff. New communities are eager to partner with the University of Iowa through the IISC program, and we have started sharing unique and challenging project opportunities for UI students. 

The selection of new community partners for the 2018-19 academic year is under way, and we'll announce next year’s community partners in March.