EarthLab is an official partner of the UCSD Community Stations, a network of field stations in underserved neighborhoods across the San Diego-Tijuana region, where teaching and research are conducted collaboratively between UCSD researchers and communities.
Educating a new generation of leaders capable of thinking socially, ethically and collaboratively across disciplines to tackle today’s most pressing urban challenges requires that universities expand experiential learning opportunities, and develop new field-based curricula that places students into actual community settings. This is the mission of the UCSD Community Stations.
In the UCSD Community Stations, university and community partners mutually contribute resources and knowledge, and actively participate in research, learning and problem solving. Research shows that this horizontal model of community-university engagement cultivates youth leadership, community capacity, and ultimately produces better, more sustainable outcomes for both the university and community partners.
There are currently three UCSD Community Stations operating across the San Diego-Tijuana region, each focused on a particular set of urban and environmental issues. The Stations seek to link the specialized knowledge of UC San Diego with the community-based knowledge embedded in underserved neighborhoods on both sides of the border. This two-way flow – a mutual exchange of knowledge, inquiry and resources – is a new model of partnership between university and community-based agencies, redefining the idea of community service from a vertical conception of “resource provision” or “applied research” to a collaborative, or horizontal, model of engagement.
The UCSD Community Stations Network is the first of its kind in public higher education in the US, positioning UCSD as a leader in community-engaged research and teaching on issues of diversity, social disparity and uneven urbanization, contributing to its reputation as a campus committed to public service, research impact and accessibility.