University unveils completed Washington projects
After a year of working in the Washington community, several graduate students from the University of Iowa unveiled the results of projects, which the university had partnered with Washington entities to complete.
During the last year, the Iowa Institute of Sustainable Communities (IISC) partnered with Washington, as well as Cedar Rapids and Muscatine, to perform projects in the community. Program coordinator Nick Benson said that IISC identifies needs of partnering communities and matches them with University resources. He also said it gives University students the opportunity to work in real world settings and get experience.
“We have had University of Iowa graduate and undergraduate students working on a number of different projects with the City of Washington, working on projects that will help improve the vitality of the community,” Benson said. “When we talk about sustainability we are really talking about the vitality of a community.”
In the conference rooms at the Washington Public Library, students had tables set up with posters detailing the work they did during the past year. Many of the tables also had fliers that the students had designed. The projects included engineering projects designing storm water runoff and the Wellness Park for the city; working on community branding and strategic communication for a hotel/motel tax for the Washington Chamber of Commerce; designing a mural for the library; and creating a fundraising campaign for PAWS and More.
Prof. Paul Hanley of the University of Iowa civil and environmental engineering department, showed the posters that explained the two projects that engineering students did. The first designed the Wellness Park on city-owned land. It included a Washington Community Y building, but also gave cost totals if the building is not included. The other project was to develop a storm water runoff system in town.
“I have worked closely with the students throughout this and we had a lot of exchange of information,” City Administrator Brent Hinson said. “The benefit to the city is that we got some engineering work and expertise for free. It allows us to look and develop some ideas for what future developments are going to look like.”
Hinson said the projects the students had worked on had already been publically discussed to a certain extent.
University of Iowa marketing students Kristi Roehr, Dylan Diewold, Corey Collins and Alivia Cannistra adopted the nickname “Team Washington” as they worked to design community branding for the city.
“Our whole goal of the project was to rebrand Washington as an attractive place for day travel as well as permanent residence,” Cannistra said.
The students came up with several examples for a slogan. The new slogan unveiled Wednesday was “Discover a Classic.”
Roehr said that the students had created a new activities guide and branding guide. She said it is the students’ hope that the impact of the new items can be measured in a few years to determine the success.
Benson said that the program might well return to Washington.
“This is the end of the year, but it is not necessarily the end of the partnership,” Benson said. ‘We will continue to look into how the University can partner with Washington. We have really enjoyed working here.” The community has been so welcoming to our students and faculty. It has been a lot of fun and we hope we have been able to provide assistance to the community. Our students have gotten a lot out of it – they have gotten a lot of professional development experience. We are really excited to be here in the community and we are looking forward to additional projects.”