UniverCity Alliance seeking applicants for Scholars Program

Put the Wisconsin Idea into action and work with local governments on community-identified challenges through the UniverCity Alliance Scholars Program.  

Through the UniverCity Alliance (UCA) Scholars Program, undergraduate and graduate students from a range of academic disciplines can apply directly to work on a community-based project that furthers the goals of Wisconsin cities, counties, towns, and villages.  

These communities are existing UniverCity partners who are connecting with university resources through a three-year engagement. Primarily, UniverCity has matched community ideas with faculty and teaching instructors, who embed projects into their courses.  

Through this scholarship opportunity – now in its second year – UniverCity can match individual students with community-based projects. The inaugural cohort of UCA Scholars worked with Eau Claire County, the cities of Marinette, Wausau, Milton, and Madison, and the villages of Shorewood and Cottage Grove on projects ranging from building a GIS map to visually display 911 calls for service and exploring alternatives to single use plastics to proposing a plan to become more bike-friendly. 

Students will have the opportunity to connect with local government leaders, engage with peers who share an interest in supporting Wisconsin communities, and receive a $1,500 scholarship. While projects vary by year, topics have included:  

  • Belonging and inclusion, e.g. equity audits, communications strategies, training programs, etc. 
  • Sustainability, e.g. energy audits, climate action plans, watershed protection strategies, scenario planning for how development impacts the environment, addressing groundwater quality, etc. 
  • Improving government efficiency program evaluation, consolidation studies, process improvement, public communications plans, etc. 
  • Child care, e.g. innovative solutions for addressing accessibility and affordability of child care services, innovative solutions for improving child care worker wages, etc. 
  • Transportation, e.g. road maintenance plans, improving biking and walking infrastructure, reimagining roadways, etc. 
  • Economic development, e.g. innovative solutions for workforce development, trade market analyses, rebranding efforts, creating websites, etc. 
  • Housing, e.g. planning and analysis of affordable housing sites, housing plan updates, etc.  
  • Health, e.g. plans to improve mental health, drug/alcohol abuse prevention, improving health equity, etc. 
  • Urban design, e.g. creative placemaking, pedestrian safety planning, wayfinding plans, downtown development projects, etc. 

Applications are due April 1. Students should apply through Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH) portal. More information on eligibility criteria and application requirements can be found here. Please email UniverCityAlliance@wisc.edu with any questions.  

The UCA Scholars Program is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the High Road Strategy Center, the School of Human Ecology, and over 20 other campus partners on the UCA Advisory Board. This scholarship award is provided through the philanthropy of UW alumni John Holton, Pat Thiele, Colleen Goggins, John Nelson, Bill and Karen Monfre, John Bauman, Curt Fuszard, and others.