The Community Service Center (CSC) of Oregon 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 CSC is housed at the University of Oregon. 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 the service-learning programs provided by the CSC, student participants gain important service and professional experience by helping to solve community and regional issues. Through its programs, the CSC works to establish relationships and strengthen the partnerships between faculty and students on Oregon University System (OUS) campuses and community representatives, state and local agencies, and non-profit organizations. The CSC provides six interrelated services.

  • Community service coordination
  • Technical assistance
  • Community problem solving
  • Connections with state and federal agencies
  • Training for communities
  • Applied research

History of the Community Service Center for Oregon

The Community Service Center (CSC) has been assisting Oregon communities for the past 28 years. In 1976, the Community Planning Workshop was initiated as the first of the service-learning elements of the aaatest7. Initially, two faculty members managed three to four projects per year. As additional staff members were hired the number of projects grew from four to ten per year. Over the years, CPW student projects have regularly received awards from the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association. In 1991, CPW received a national award from the 1,000 Points of Light Foundation, and dozensof awards through the years since then.

In 1994, funding from the Corporation for National Service, the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE), the USDA Forest Service, The Ford Family Foundation, and participating Oregon communities provided support to implement Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE). In the first year, 15 students lived and worked in rural, resource dependent communities helping to improve economic and environmental conditions. In the past s15 years the RARE Program has grown from 15 to 35 placements per year. Across the country the RARE Program is recognized as one of the most successful applied, professionally oriented, service-learning programs for persons interested in acquiring rural resource and economic development experience.

In 1997-98, the RARE Program developed and funded a third service-learning program called Student Originated Studies (SOS). The primary objective of the SOS Program is to engage students in service-learning assistance to Oregon communities and non-profit organizations through student thesis projects. A panel of state agency representatives and CSC program directors review SOS proposals. Twenty-eight SOS grants have been awarded since 1997.

Community Service Center Staff

A team of eight planning/public policy professionals guide the activities of the Community Service Center. Each of the CSC staff members has an average of nine years of planning/public policy experience serving Oregon communities and regions. The three senior staff of the CSC are:

Bob Parker is a Managing Director of the CSC and the Director of Community Planning Workshop and coordinates the work of four graduate fellows serving as project managers for CPW projects. He is responsible for reviewing and responding to Requests for Proposals, project development and day-to-day management.

Megan Smith is a Managing Director of the CSC and the Director of the RARE Program and oversees the day-to-day operations including contract development and administration, participant and community selection, field support, and training. Megan also assists in the development and implementation of pilot programs for the aaatest7.

Andre LeDuc is the Executive Director of the Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience and the UO Emergency Management Coordinator. He is responsible for coordinating the Partnership and developing hazard mitigation projects around the state.