Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Roslynn G.H. Brain


Roslynn G.H. Brain


Robert H. Schmidt


Kate Stephens


As communities continue to face issues relating to sustainability and with students demanding more university courses focused on solving these issues, a program that works to address both factors could prove beneficial. Modeled after the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, the Community Bridge Initiative (CBI) at Utah State University aims to tackle specific community sustainability concerns by enlisting student and faculty expertise to create innovative ideas and provide increased capacity. While CBI is still in its pilot year, this thesis identified the benefits and challenges associated with the application of this program and provided recommendations to best implement this program once it leaves the pilot stage. Data were collected from a community needs assessment and from students enrolled in CBI pilot classes. The community needs assessment revealed that of 35 local organizations surveyed, 91% wanted to partner with USU in efforts to address current and future issues, showing that CBI would have the needed community support should it choose to partner with local organizations on various issues. Organization needs included improving the communities of Cache Valley, educating the public about important issues and spreading awareness of their specific programs, and mitigating funding and physical resource issues. For partnerships, organizations were most interested in pairing with USU on education and volunteer initiatives and sustainability-based efforts. In regard to students enrolled in CBI courses, the program also gained student validation as 92% of the students reported that the class positively impacted them, 88% would take a CBI course again, 63% would list the experience on their resume, and 73% felt that the class was more effective in communicating course content in comparison to traditional USU courses. Following these results, full implementation of the CBI program at Utah State University is recommended.