Located in Hendricks Hall, the Community Service Center (CSC) is an interdisciplinary organization that assists Oregon communities by providing planning and technical assistance to help solve local issues and improve the quality of life for Oregon residents. The role of the CSC is to link the skills, expertise, and innovation of higher education with the economic development and environmental needs of communities and regions in the State of Oregon, thereby providing service to Oregon and learning opportunities to the students involved.
Through CSC programs, students gain important service and professional experience by helping to solve community and regional in addition to establishing relationships and strengthening partnerships between faculty and students on Oregon University System (OUS) campuses, community representatives, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations.
The CSC started small in 1973, when then-UO faculty member David Povey envisioned a program that linked higher education with local communities to solve pressing community problems. The first project evaluated the impacts if Senate Bill 100 — Oregon’s innovative land use law that celebrates its 40th anniversary this month — was not passed. The result of that evaluation was a report, “Activities of Statewide Significance,” developed by six students and Povey. Since then, the CSC has grown to engage more than 120 students each year in more than 170 projects statewide.
The CSC includes four core programs:
1. Community Planning Workshop
2. Resource Assistance for Rural Environments
3. Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience
4. Economic Development Administration University Center
These core programs provide:
• Community service coordination
• Technical assistance
• Problem solving
• Connections with state and federal agencies
• Applied research
The CSC’s programs have expanded its reach, breadth, and depth over its 40 years. In 2011, the CSC’s projects engaged 4,924 community members, provided 1,018 training hours to community members, presented 241 times at community meetings, engaged 125 students, and completed 174 projects for 53 Oregon cities and 34 counties.
The CSC partners with the UO Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM). With an average of nine years of planning/public policy experience serving Oregon communities and regions, the CSC professional staff of six practitioners provide key insights and direct experience that complements PPPM’s academic programs.