ATLANTA -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a new phase of collegial and federal agency cooperation with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the agency and Georgia College & State University (GC). EPA also signed a MOU with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 4 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and state directors from the U.S. Department of Agricultural, Rural Development (USDA RD) representing Alabama, Georgia South Carolina and Tennessee.
“Universities like GC are an incredible asset for communities, because of the skilled resources at their disposal,” said Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney. “Partnering with HHS and USDA strengthens those skills and talents, and allows us to expand support through the College/Underserved Community Partnership Program to other communities in the southeast.”
The MOU with GC is an agreement to work with EPA, participate in the EPA College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (CUPP) and build a cooperative working relationship in areas of mutual interest. The MOU will serve to build a cooperative working relationship in areas, such as environmental justice, sustainability and policy, energy issues, socioeconomic dimensions of sustainable food systems, health disparities, community building and development.
“This agreement between Georgia College and the EPA will not only allow our students to participate in hands-on and in-depth learning opportunities, but also connects underserved communities to the talents and expertise of our students, faculty and staff as they work to address important issues for those communities,” said Dr. Steve Dorman, Georgia College president. “We believe this strategic partnership is mutually beneficial for all parties, and we look forward to building on this and other collaborative efforts, which are the very foundation of our liberal arts education.”
The MOU between the federal agencies is an agreement to support schools and communities participating in CUPP.
This partnership will allow the agencies to serve as technical advisors and partners with both the EPA and schools throughout the southeastern United States and to support the schools efforts to solve \a wide range of community issues, such as environmental concerns and economic development. The MOU will also enable EPA and the partnering agencies to expand their ability to provide assistance to those most in need by working with schools such as Georgia College and State University, while at the same time improving their ability to meet the needs of the communities in which they serve.
CUPP benefits both the communities being served and the students involved in the program. Under-served communities are provided with the additional resources and diverse perspectives of a college-educated student body. Students in the program benefit from working collaboratively with City officials, community organizations, environmental professionals, and other stakeholders in solving existing problems and influencing change in actual communities. The program partnership truly establishes a new paradigm for uniting sustainability and economic development in rural and small communities.
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