Clemson University Restoration Institute recognized by EPA

Clemson University
December 17, 2009

A statewide team that includes the Clemson University Restoration Institute has received a 2009 Environmental Justice Achievement Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This national award recognizes the success of partnerships in addressing environmental justice issues or adopting goals to positively affect a community.

In a combined effort to mitigate possible negative affects of expanding the Port of Charleston at the former Navy base, the S.C. State Ports Authority and the city of North Charleston agreed to the Community Mitigation Plan.

As a result of that agreement, a partnership between the Mitigation Agreement Commission and the Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities was selected for the award based on an outstanding effort to work with the city and the ports authority to foster environmental protection and economic revitalization associated with port expansion.

Environmental justice is broadly defined as the equal distribution of environmental risks, hazards, investments and benefits across a community, and when access is shared equally.

Such partnerships consist of academic institutions, business and industry groups, community-based organizations, nongovernmental and environmental groups, state and local governments and tribal government and indigenous organizations.

To be considered for the award, partnerships are evaluated on the effectiveness of the collaboration, innovation, community involvement and demonstrated results.

As part of this collaboration, Clemson landscape architecture students produced a series of designs aimed at revitalizing the Stromboli corridor in North Charleston, an area of underserved neighborhoods located barely a mile from the Restoration Institute.

Led by Victoria Chanse, an assistant professor with the department of planning and landscape architecture, 17 students held a four-day workshop with residents and other stakeholders, which allowed residents and students to develop community-based designs for the corridor.

The exercise also provided a learning experience through two key elements: service-learning, where students are exposed to community design, and hands-on experience working with local residents.

An important component of the project is to give back to the neighborhood by doing something useful rather than just another exercise, Chanse said. The neighborhoods can take the students’ work and put it into practice, if they choose.

“The work of Clemson’s students was just one component of a much larger picture,” Chanse said. “This award recognizes the wonderful work of so many groups that came together for a common cause.”

The EPA acknowledged the cooperation of the following partners:
-Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments
-City of North Charleston
-Clemson University Restoration Institute
-Clemson University planning and landscape architecture department
-Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina
-Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance
-Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities
-North Charleston City Council, District 10
-North Charleston Housing Authority
-S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
-S.C. Department of Transportation
-S.C. Employment Commission
-S.C. State Ports Authority

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