Campus and Community

Transforming Communities

What does it take to transform a community? Public and land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture use the power of their research and outreach capabilities to partner with community members in ways that profoundly improve many aspects of daily life, including health, education, accessibility, and connectivity.

At Texas A&M University, one of the basics of life—safe drinking water—is made possible locally and globally through a simple and elegant design for sustainable water filters. The University of Illinois continues a proud history of providing accessibility services on its campus by encouraging faculty and students to design new innovations for wheelchair users and others. At Iowa State University, School of Design students join with community members to envision a better tomorrow through the design of affordable housing and sustainable landscapes.

Community transformation starts early through 4-H, art, and museum outreach programs based at public and land-grant universities. From building robots, to creating art to combat hunger, to learning about dinosaurs excavated in their own backyards, young community members prepare to inherit the future with the help of both universities and the USDA.

Did You Know?

  • The prototype for 4-H clubs began in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio, as “The Tomato Club.” By 1924, the clubs were organized under the name 4-H as part of the USDA Cooperative Extension System. Today the clubs serve rural, urban, and suburban youth in every state across the nation.
  • The Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center’s GlobalNOC World View is an interactive 3-D computer network that displays earthquake and weather data to improve awareness during natural disasters.
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Agricultural, Home, and 4-H extension agents of the USDA have helped transform communities with information about new farming techniques, food safety and preservation, and youth activities. This group of African-American county and home agents was photographed in Florida in 1925. Photo courtesy University of Florida Archives

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Oscar Muñoz of Texas A&M’s Colonias Program demonstrates how to make a mini-ceramic water filter during a community training session in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University