This program is organized by DukeEngage staff.
June 13 - August 10
Serving with non-profits/government agencies focused on environmental management, law, advocacy, policy, conservation, and education.
DukeEngage Portland focuses on working with environmental non-profits and governmental agencies in the Portland area. This program, which supports participants as they learn about management at environmental organizations, is intentionally designed to foster sustainability and green practices in all programmatic aspects and seeks students who are interested in living sustainably and supporting these ideals. Through individual project placements, the group analyzes and integrates different approaches to environmentalism. The program aims to immerse students in the Portland community, a leader in environmental and urban planning, and expose them to the variety of ecosystems and environmental management strategies throughout the state of Oregon. The DukeEngage Portland program fulfills a unique need: from the local to global level, students are shepherding natural resources and promoting sustainability through placements at environmental non-profits and governmental agencies in Portland, Oregon.
Former participants have worked with the following Portland-based non-profits and governmental agencies:
-The Nature Conservancy
-Crag Environmental Law Center
-Wild Salmon Center
-1000 Friends of Oregon
-Metro, elected regional government for the Portland metropolitan area
-Friends of Trees
Language/Other Prerequisites: None
Reflection Sessions: The site coordinator will lead weekly reflection sessions to which students will be expected to actively contribute. Last year, weekly reflection sessions took place Friday afternoons after the Hands on Portland weekly group volunteer activities. In addition to contributing to and attending the weekly reflection sessions, students will be expected to post frequently on the program blog.
Neighborhood: The residence hall at Portland State University is located in downtown Portland within walking distance to public transportation, restaurants, stores, the campus fitness center, and parks.
Housing and Accommodations: Each student will share a room with another DukeEngage student of the same gender. The rooms include: two beds, desks, closets, kitchenette, and a bathroom which will also be shared by two DukeEngage students of the same gender. Students will have the ability to cook in their kitchenette. Laundry facilities are conveniently located in the dormitory.
Meals: Students will be given a stipend to cover the costs of meals during the summer. In the past, most students shopped for food and cooked meals in the private kitchenette located in their residence hall. Students have also enjoyed eating at the many food carts located throughout Portland, which are also close to many of the placement sites. Portland is known for a strong local and organic food movement. There are weekly farmer’s markets in Portland where students are able to buy fresh produce and baked goods. There is also a grocery store within walking distance of the students’ housing.
Communication: Students will have internet access from their residence hall. Students are encouraged to bring a laptop. Most placements will involve time in front of the computer and students should have some internet access while at their placement. Students are encouraged to bring their personal cell phones to Portland. The dormitories do not have landlines
Transportation: Given the location of PSU vis-à-vis the service placements, most students will be within a 25-minute urban walk from their work site. Students will normally commute to work in pairs as it the goal to place two students at most placements. Within the city of Portland there is ample public transportation including: TriMet buses, MAX trains, and the Portland Streetcar. If students cannot walk easily to their service placement, a student will use one the aforementioned forms of public transportation during his/her commute. Portland is very bike- and walker-friendly.
During program enrichment activities, students will be driven in rental vans by program staff or the entire group will take public transportation. If needed, students may also easily rent Zipcars near Portland State University. Zipcars will only be needed for recreational use if desired and, thus, are not a programmatic expense. Most program events will take place in the city where public transportation can be used. If an event is taking place outside of Portland, group transportation will be arranged by the site leaders.
Volunteer Placement Logistics: All volunteer placement sites will primarily follow a similar schedule of work Monday – Friday from 8:30 am until 5 pm. Some placement sites will consist of more office-based work while others will require students to be outdoors the majority of the time. Some placements occasionally participate in office enrichment activities like “clean up” parties where a team from the office participates in local restoration efforts or colleagues go on a hike together the surrounding areas. While students will spend the majority of their time serving with one organization, the program has also partnered with an organization called Hands on Portland since 2009. Hands on Portland coordinates one-time volunteer activities throughout the program (often on Friday afternoons) that give students the opportunity to volunteer together and also to learn more about different environmental projects that are happening across the community. For example, one afternoon students might volunteer at the Rebuilding Center which salvages building materials. Another afternoon the students might paddle in canoes to Ross Island located in the Willamette River and remove invasive species that grow on the island.
Students will learn more about community partner placement opportunities during the interview process for the program. The placement matching process and final decisions are made after students are selected and committed to the DukeEngage Portland program.
Below are examples of the types of contributions made by students during past DukeEngage Portland programs:
• Two students worked for a non-profit organization that brings Oregonians together to improve the environment and build a legacy of stewardship. The students worked to monitor and remove invasive species around the greater Portland area. They also worked with 14-17 year old at-risk boys in leading invasive species removal projects. In addition to mentoring and leading groups of Portland youth, the students were involved with data collection and learning about indigenous plant types. Other contributions made by the students included building a model watershed and writing a manual for replicating the model as well as collecting a diversity of macro-invertebrate specimens for use in environmental education and water quality monitoring.
• One student worked with an international non-profit that works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The student’s main project was to do policy research on Oregon transportation projects and look at how transportation funds are spent around the state. Research for the project included online research as well as phone and in-person interviews, many of which were with government agencies. In addition, the student went out into the field with staff, sat in on Executive Board meetings, and learned about how large environmental organizations are structured.
• One student worked for a non-profit organization committed to advocacy, education, and research revolving issues of land use and planning. The student created, administered, and analyzed a survey with the organization’s 15 affiliates around the state. The survey was designed to find out what the affiliates’ needs were and how the organizations’ skills and resources could be synergized.
• Two students worked for the elected regional government for the Portland metropolitan area. This office works with communities, businesses and residents to create a vibrant and sustainable region for all. The students conducted outreach to environmental organizations to education them about a newly formed conservation council. The council was created with the intent of connecting environmental organizations and protected areas through the greater Portland area. The two students created an outreach PowerPoint and then traveled to different environmental organizations to present the idea for the conservation council, recruit participants for the council, and answer any questions.
• One student worked with a non-profit organization that works to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington. The organization seeks to create communities where people can meet their daily transportation needs on a bike. The student wrote for the organization’s blog, wrote/edited a chapter of a transportation plan for a local town, researched federal programs to look for funding for biking, and did policy research on the impact of bikes versus cars in North Portland.
• One student worked with a non-profit law center that supports community efforts to protect and sustain the Pacific Northwest's natural legacy. The student created a powerpoint presentation on the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process in Oregon. This presentation showed how MSP was connected to the creation of marine reserves in the state and was used to educate and show to donors and foundations. The student also worked to review videos for the a fall film festival, wrote blog posts, called radio stations to do outreach, and had the opportunity to sit in on several court hearings.
• One student worked with a non-profit organization that seeks to build community partnerships to plant, preserve, care for, and educate about urban trees. They worked primarily on different programs: the Green Space Initiative and the Neighborhood Trees program. The student's daily work included invasive species removal, tree monitoring and watering, database entry, and preparing information packets for household distribution.
Opportunities for Autonomy / Private Space: Students will be at their service placements from 9 AM until 5:30 PM each day. After work students will return to their housing or meet up with fellow participants for dinner. During the week students will have two to three group commitments in the evening generally from 6:30-8:30 PM. On the weekends, students will have more free time but approximately one day per weekend will involve a full day group enrichment activity. In past years, the group has done one overnight camping trip to the coast. While there will be some downtime, students should not anticipate a great deal of autonomy.
Miscellaneous: The state of Oregon is home to some of the most diverse and well-preserved ecosystems in the nation, including old growth forest, volcanoes, beaches, dunes, wetlands, meadows, shrub steppe, savanna, deserts, and more. Oregon and Portland are known for being supportive of environmental organizations, and as a result, are home to many of the nation’s largest and most influential environmental organizations. The Portland program will partner with organizations that have a variety of political perspectives on environmental issues.
Throughout the program, students may have the opportunity to travel to various locations around the state to further enrich the students’ experience and deepen their understanding of Oregon’s diverse natural landscape. Day and weekend trips may include visits to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River Gorge, the Deschutes National Forest, Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, the Oregon Dunes Park, and Hood River. Many of the enrichment activities involve spending significant periods of time outdoors and some hiking.
During Spring 2010 a carbon calculator was developed and designed specifically for the DukeEngage Portland program. The calculator was used for the first time with the Summer 2010 cohort. The carbon calculator will continue to be used by students to track their carbon emissions in a variety of categories including travel, dorm life, office work, diet, etc. Throughout the program, students will input their energy usage to track the program’s overall carbon emissions over the eight weeks of the program. Students will also have the opportunity to work together to participate in activities that will help to offset their carbon emissions as well as explore other ways to lower their carbon footprint through choices about transportation, food choices, etc.