Community Needs

What we need from you: Ideas for projects related to community resilience

  • Short-term projects that can be completed by faculty, staff, students, and community members in a period from a few hours or one day (example: day of service) to one week (example: spring break service event)
  • Long-term projects that can be completed by students in a 14-week semester

I have an idea for a community project

Community Project Examples

Examples of resilience projects could include information gathering projects, such as mapping and surveying critical places within a neighborhood, climate and flood preparedness education, business continuity plan development, leadership and advocacy training, community food programs and ecological restoration projects.

Project examples:

  • Chesterfield Heights Design Project

During the 2014- 2015 academic year students from Old Dominion University’s engineering department joined students from Hampton University’s architecture department to develop design and engineering recommendations to deal with flooding in a historic, riverfront neighborhood in Norfolk. The Chesterfield Heights Design project was funded by Virginia Sea Grant and organized the non-profit group Wetlands Watch. As a part of the project, students surveyed the local community, visited with the civic league and looked for solutions to flooding that helped to retain the features of the neighborhood valued by residents.  Faculty members Mason Andrews, from HU and Mujde Erten-Unal from ODU continue collaborate,  using real world neighborhoods in their partnered courses.

  • Southeast Newport News Resilience Project

The Virginia Coastal Policy Center, a program of the William and Mary Law School, has engaged with the Southeast Newport News Community to assist in creating solutions for adapting to sea level rise and building community capacity for coastal resilience. Among their students’ projects have been a tree planting event, the development of a resiliency plan for the community and the development of a partnership that has helped attract funding from EPA and foundations. The Southeast Community partners with a number of other universities on service learning projects including Hampton University and Virginia Tech.

  • Organizing for Social Change for 10/10/10

Students at Antioch University and community members in Keene, NH, discuss the service related community initiatives they implemented for 10/10/10, which was declared an international day of work and service by  As a part of a course entitled “Organizing for Social Change,” students organized a film showing and discussion at a community library, a series of bike workshops, and other activities to encourage individuals to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors by reducing their carbon footprints. This video provides more detailed information about the kinds of initiatives planned and their intended impact on the community. (

  • Assessment of vulnerability of seniors to a changing climate

The Climate Resilience Seniors Project at Antioch University was a participatory research study of factors relating to climate change and their impact on the elderly.  The study brought together researchers associated with the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience at Antioch University, employees of the City of Bridgeport, and members of the elderly community, to form strategies to enhance the resilience of the elderly to climate-related stressors such as heat waves, storms, flooding, sea level rise, and air pollution. (

  • Analysis of Food Security in Emergencies

This project, for an environmental studies course at Western Washington University, involved an assessment of the inflow of food into Whatcom County, Washington, as well as the emergency planning associated with the coordination of food distribution throughout the county in the event of an emergency.  Students worked to identify the volume of food received by local distributors/retailers or produced by local growers. They also assessed the number of residents who might be vulnerable to food insecurity in the event of an emergency; identified local organizations who would be responsible for the distribution of food during an emergency; and estimated the length of time the county would be able to provide local residents with food before supplies would need to be replenished by outside sources. (  OR

  • Green Infrastructure (e.g., rain garden, butterfly garden, etc.)

As part of the Monarchs for Monarchs program, the biological sciences department at ODU, in conjunction the Orchid Conservatory, the ODU grounds department, and the Botanical Society of America ODU Student Chapter, planted plots of native and indigenous milkweed plants around campus in effort to provide food and shelter for migrating monarch butterflies. The milkweed plants were planted to assist in stabilizing the monarch population, which has declined in recent years, and will be monitored to determine which varieties best attract the insects, and which are able to grow hardily and with ease in the Hampton Roads clime.  Student volunteers were drawn from two courses at ODU (one in entomology and another in ecology), from the local chapter of the Botanical Society of America, and from other colleges and universities.

Questions? Need more information?

Contact Dr. Michelle Covi – e-mail or call 757-683-6598