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City to Partner with UMD Department on City’s Sustainability Efforts

The City has been in discussions with the University of Maryland’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program since January 2014. In May 2014 the City Council authorized staff to identify resources, such as the PALS program, to assist with the City’s sustainability efforts.

PALS is administered by the National Center for Smart Growth. It is a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity ofUMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. PALS is designed to provide innovative, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating real-world problem-solving experiences for University of Maryland graduate and undergraduate students. College Park would be the second jurisdiction to participate in the PALS program.

A  professor running the program came to this week’s worksession to talk more about the program.

The City and PALS staff have identified four courses / projects for the spring 2015 semester:

  • Improving Solid Waste Management Practices;
  • College Town: how the University and City can enhance urban life and the University;
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory; and,
  • Making Place: Public Art and Design.

Staff from Administration, Planning, and Public Works will be liaisons for the courses. PALS charges $5,000 per course, but is charging the City for only three ofthe four courses.

The City will sign an MOU with the University of Maryland, subject to approval of the City Attorney, to participate in the PALS program.

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